‘Better Utah’ calls for resignation of mayor holding concert amid COVID-19 concerns
May 18, 2020, 1:58 PM
(Kaysville Mayor Katie Witt)
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — A nonprofit political organization is calling for the resignation of Kaysville Mayor Katie Witt, who announced Friday she would host a free Utah Business Revival concert — despite social distancing guidelines coming from the governor.
Alliance for a Better Utah is calling on Witt to resign, noting the concert would put the health and livelihood of Utahns at risk.
“Mayor Witt should resign for moving forward with this dangerous political stunt,” said Chase Thomas, executive director of Better Utah, in a statement. “It is bad enough that any elected official would show such little regard for the health and safety of the people they were elected to serve. In this case, with a primary election for federal office just around the corner, Mayor Witt is sacrificing public health in her community to further her own political ambitions.”
State Senator calls for the resignation of Kaysville Mayor
Although Witt hasn’t deemed it a political matter in her Congressional campaign, the move has raised eyebrows among other Utah government leaders.
State Senator Todd Weiler took to Twitter Monday to say he does not “approve of this publicity stunt from the same mayor who collected parade chairs placed too early “because rules are rules.”
Weiler also called on Mayor Witt to resign, arguing she was using her office to “generate free media in her run for Congress.”
Hey @kslnewsradio I do not approve of this publicity stunt from the same mayor who collected parade chairs placed too early “because rules are rules.” She should resign as mayor for abusing her office to generate free media in her run for Congress. This is bad all over. pic.twitter.com/djAltzvETl
— Todd Weiler (@gopTODD) May 18, 2020
Mayor Witt’s response
But to Mayor Witt, it’s not only a matter of a public concert. It’s also a matter of constitutional rights.
“I feel that many of our residents feel like their constitutional freedoms have been overly taxed and impacted, and I feel that,” Witt said in an interview on Facebook. She later added, “We have to give them back as soon possible because, otherwise, they’re too hard to give back.”
The news comes days after Gov. Gary Herbert announced most of the state would be moving into the yellow, low-risk phase — allowing for some social distancing restrictions to ease and businesses to reopen.
Under these guidelines, gatherings are limited to no more than 50 people. However, for larger events like concerts, these restrictions can be modified.
In the case of this Utah Business Revival Concert, the “event size can exceed 50 individuals if organizational oversight can be provided that ensures guidelines are followed.” Basically, if more than 1,000 people show up at the concert, the city will need explicit permission from the Davis County Health Department.
Community push back of the event
The concert has received a fair share of pushback from both elected officials and Utah residents with one message from KSL reading, “Kaysville mayor is holding a free ‘celebration’ concert to open up business. Collin Ray will be performing and I am sure the crowds will be crazy! 6ft distancing will not be possible! This is a violation of the governor’s orders and our ‘yellow zone’ status!”
Other Utahns have taken to Twitter to complain about the move — calling on Mayor Witt to cancel the concert.
This is a hyper-partisan self-promoting act on the part of the mayor that is becoming highly divisive and polarizing for the community of which she should be representing with integrity. @KatieWitt build the community you represent, don’t divide it! Pseudo-patriotism!
— Amy Leishman (@amy_leish) May 16, 2020
The concert is scheduled for May 30 at Barnes Park and is set to host country singer Colin Raye. Concert organizers are also inviting local venues to sell their items to the public.