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    County council will discuss requesting mask mandate in Grand, restructuring travel council

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    Photo by Mika Baumeister on Unsplash

    Following Utah Governor Gary Herbert approving requests from Salt Lake County and Summit County that all people in the counties wear masks in businesses, Grand County may soon make such a request itself.

    The Grand County Council will meet Tuesday, June 30 to likely vote on whether to request such a mandate. “We’re in good shape, and I want to keep it that way,” said Grand County Council Chair Mary McGann Saturday, June 27 of the discussion item, which she put on the agenda in hopes that the council would consider requesting a mask mandate.

    Also up for discussion Tuesday will be the risk phase Grand County wants to be in. The Southeast Utah Health Department notified officials last week that the green risk phase (under the state’s color-coded reopening guidelines) may be appropriate for the area in part because the county, at the time, had not seen a new case of COVID-19 since June 1. One new case was later confirmed on Friday.

    “Grand County technically meets the criteria for going to new normal green,” said Bradon Bradford, director of the health department, in an email to county officials on Monday, June 22. “Emery went green last week, and I submitted today for Carbon County. This is done in conjunction with the the governing body. If the council has no desire to go green (based on the reasons we’ve discussed over the past three months), then there is no push to do so. If the council would like to go green, then technically the measures are met to do so.”

    The county will discuss or vote on three other big topics at the Tuesday meeting, including restructuring the Moab Area Travel Council into an entity named the Grand County Economic Development Department and expanding its duties to focus on economic diversification.

    The discussion comes amid a crisis time for Moab’s economy that has created a renewed focus on the impact to locals of the area’s heavy reliance on tourism for most economic activity. Restructuring the travel council might be accompanied by a restructuring of the county’s planning, building inspection and trails divisions into a Grand County Community Development Department.

    The restructuring would also mean the removal of the economic development duties of the Community and Economic Development Director, currently Zacharia Levine, who recently announced his resignation and will be joining The Synergy Company.

    The council will not make final decisions on establishing separate economic and community development departments, but they may vote on the next most proximate set of issues: whether to change the title of the Community and Economic Development Director to remove economic development duties, whether to approve an associated pay scale decrease and whether to start recruiting for the position.

    The agenda, including information about how to virtually attend the meeting, is available on the Grand County Council agenda center.

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