Provo City facilities reopening as part of new COVID-19 response plan

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Mayor Michelle Kaufusi and Provo City released a recovery plan called “Proceed with Caution” with guidelines that align with Gov. Gary Herbert’s moderate risk instructions.

Kaufusi introduced the plan in a live press conference streamed through Facebook. The plan will gradually loosen restrictions and open the economy of the city. Kaufusi said the timeline is based on closely-monitored COVID-19 case data and local and state health department recommendations.

“The success of this plan depends on all of us taken our responsibility seriously as individuals, as a city and as a community,” said Kaufusi.

Kaufusi introduced a series of traffic-like posters that will be hung around the city encouraging citizens to social distance, limit their gatherings to 20, wash their hands, get tested for COVID-19 and wear face masks.

News signs that are part of Provo’s “Proceed with Caution” plan. Mayor Michelle Kaufusi introduced these signs on Monday, May 4. They will be displayed around the city to encourage citizens to practice COVID-19 safety guidelines. (Screenshot from provo.org)

Kaufusi likened traffic signs to the COVID-19 safety guidelines. She said traffic signs help people to be safe and are only effective if they are followed and that the same goes for the safety guidelines published and enforced by state and local health departments.

According to the city’s plan, all Parks and Recreation facilities will open tomorrow. These facilities include public parks, trails, sports facilities and places like the Covey Center for the Arts and Peaks Ice Arena.

Some facilities, like the Provo Library will remain closed. The library will continue to only offer curbside deliveries.

The plan outlines specific information regarding each facility and the precautions it is taking. Many of these precautions include increased cleaning and sanitizing, personal protection equipment like masks and gloves, safety signage, Plexiglas shields at front desks and enforced social distancing.

Kaufusi introduced a voluntary pledge program. Businesses and citizens are encouraged to display a vinyl cling on business doors and home or car windows to show commitment to personal safety guidelines produced by the state and local government.

“Provo has always been a community that comes together during times of need — and I know we will rise to the occasion now,” she said.

County Commissioner Nathan Ivie said the success of the plan and the opening of Provo relies on individuals.

“It’s foolish to look to the government to provide our safety, it’s inherent upon us to act responsibly as individuals to provide that safety and protection,” he said. “When we do that, we all will live in a society and community that thrives and, most importantly, is safe.”

Despite the loosened restrictions, Utah County Health Director Ralph Clegg encouraged citizens to stay home whenever possible and to limit nonessential travel. Clegg said proceeding with caution is going to be essential.

“We want to move to a new normal,” he said. “Take an active role in helping Utah County reduce its COVID-19 cases.”

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