Utah County Health Department identifies COVID-linked Provo party businesses

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Leer en español: El Departamento de Salud del condado de Utah asocia negocios de fiestas con COVID

A DJ at Afuego Fridays prepares for an Aug. 14 dance party. The Utah County Health Department identified Afuego Fridays and Utah Country Dance as having helped fuel the recent COVID case surge in Utah County. (Josh Carter)

The Utah County Health Department released the names of two Provo party businesses that have helped fuel local COVID-19 cases over the last three weeks.

Country Dance Provo, an event hosted twice a week by Utah Country Dance at 116 W Center Street, and Afuego Fridays at 1700 N State Street have been linked to multiple COVID cases, according to documents obtained by The Daily Universe through a GRAMA request.

Cases began to surge in Utah County on Sept. 10, when a then-record 224 new cases prompted state health officials to urge young adults in the area to exercise more caution. Case numbers continued to rise, however, causing Utah Gov. Gary Herbert to move Provo and Orem back to the moderate or orange restriction level under Utah’s phased pandemic plan on Sept. 22. The Utah County Health Department and Utah County Commission then issued a public mask mandate later that day.

Utah County Health Department spokesperson Aislynn Tolman-Hill told the Universe on Sept. 15 that a large portion of the surge of positive cases were “definitively” traceable back to the two party businesses.

Both Utah Country Dance and Afuego Fridays have been hosting events since June when the county first moved to a low-risk restriction level and have seen a considerable amount of business since then. Despite the recent change back to the moderate restriction level, both businesses plan to continue hosting events with a number of additional precautions.

Neither Utah Country Dance owner Miguel Guzman nor Afuego Fridays owner Luis Castro said they had heard from the Utah County Health Department about being linked to the COVID cases.

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