(WASHINGTON COUNTY, Utah) — Months into the fight against the novel coronavirus in the U.S., some Americans’ daily lives are still relatively normal. In Washington County, Utah, with a population of about 165,000, business is almost as usual with streets bustling and people out in public without masks or gloves.
Golf courses are open and packed — though with only one person per cart. Parks are open, kids play on the slides and people string up hammocks and have group picnics.
The majority of businesses in Washington City remain open, though some employees wear protective gear, and some businesses have reduced capacity or have adjusted opening hours.
Despite the state’s intensifying measures to combat the spread of coronavirus, including a request to shutter nonessential businesses, there is no statewide lockdown order and local officials believe the safety measures they have taken are working.
Washington County Commissioner Gil Almquist said he’s “not even remotely worried.”
“Life is very normal except if you want to go to Olive Garden they’re bringing your order to your car,” Almquist said. “We’re trying to see it as business as usual.”
As of Thursday, Washington County, Utah, had 31 confirmed cases of coronavirus and there have only been 48 cases in all of Southwest Utah.
At Secrets Nail Bar they don’t allow more than 10 clients inside at a time and have been offering face masks to customers who didn’t come in wearing one. Though business has declined recently, an employee at the salon told ABC News that most of their regular clients still come in routinely.
“They keep coming back,” she said. “For them, nails are essential for health and hygiene.”
At Great Clips Hair Salons in both Washington and St. George, customers are still welcome, with an hour in the morning reserved for at-risk people and restrictions for two haircuts at a time. Similarly, the doors at Joann Fabric and Craft stores in Washington County are open, but allowing only 20 people inside at a time.
The Utah Department of Health prohibited the order dine-in options at restaurants and imposed restrictions on group gatherings in the state until April 15. In addition, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert issued a travel order on Wednesday requiring all individuals 18 years or older to complete a COVID-19 travel declaration form when entering the state. The order went into effect Friday.
But Almquist described the stores as busy with traffic and cars on the freeway and roads, saying he even saw some chiropractor facilities that are still open, but taking proper measures to wipe everything down and prescreen customers.
Many of those in Washington County are not full-time residents. During peak season, about 28,000 overnight visitors come to the region, according to a report released last year by the Kem Gardner Policy Institute.
The analysis also showed Washington County has a large share of secondary homes, with approximately 20% of Northern Utah residents owning a separate vacation home in Southwest Utah, many of whom head down on holidays like Easter.
“We are not a bedroom community not an industrialized community, we’re basically a ‘come and have fun’ tourism place,” Almquist said.
Given the circumstances, local officials are discouraging people from coming down this Easter Sunday.
The Southwest Utah Public Health Department is keeping tabs on the number of cases, Almquist told ABC News, but he added, “We are not like the big cities. We feel precautions have worked and we are ready to get back to business.”
Copyright © 2020, ABC Audio. All rights reserved.