As Kane County eases COVID-19 restrictions, how do business owners feel?

Jun 12, 2020, 6:17 PM

(Credit: Mike DeBernardo, KSLTV file)...

(Credit: Mike DeBernardo, KSLTV file)

(Credit: Mike DeBernardo, KSLTV file)

KANAB, Utah — Kane County is moving into what the state calls “the new normal,” as they transition to the lowest risk level for COVID-19 health guidelines.  Business owners say they’re hopeful more visitors will come, but they still have concerns about public safety.

Kanab is, of course, a tourist town hosting visitors from Zion National Park, Glen Canyon and Lake Powell to name only a few.  Less than five thousand people actually live in the city, but tourism officials estimate four million people visit in a typical year. And they bring with them $200 million in revenue for  Kane County.

They see an extremely wide spectrum of tourists from different economic levels … from backpackers who can live off the land to billionaires staying at the luxury Amangiri Resort.

All that essentially stopped when COVID-19 shut everything down.

“Once they closed the airport, it definitely went ‘ghost town mode,’” says Sego Kanab chef and owner, Shon Foster.

The silver lining in the dark COVID-19 cloud, according to Foster, is that since people didn’t have sports to watch or movies to see, many people paid closer attention to social media. He says that’s where Utahns saw just how badly the hospitality industry was hurting.

Foster says many Utahns came out to support their favorite restaurants.  Without the community and government support, Foster says his restaurant would not have survived.

What will change with “yellow to green”

Will the move from “yellow to green” really change things for business owners?  Foster says he and other restauranteurs are likely going to continue using the safety guidelines already in place.

“Maybe, the masks will come off in the kitchen if [the cooking staff] hasn’t traveled anywhere for the last 14 days, but, we’ve always worn gloves in the kitchen,” Foster said. 

“We’re going to continue to have our front of the house [employees] wear gloves just because I think it’s still safe practice.”

Tourism office instrumental in change

How was Kane County able to convince the state they should be able to move into another “new normal?”  Commissioners say the bulk of that effort was handled by Kane County Office of Tourism Executive Director Camille Johnson-Taylor.

She developed the “Above and Beyond Promise” campaign, showing locals and tourists what the county is doing to stop the spread of COVID-19.  She says the real trick will be convincing people it’s safe to visit Kane County.

“When I read ‘Utah Leads Together,’ one of the things mentioned …  is that it’s not only a crisis of this virus or the economy, it’s also a crisis of public confidence,” Johnson-Taylor said.

She says the county’s efforts to slow down the virus seemed to work extremely well.  They put handwashing stations and sanitizer towers along the streets and they were in constant contact with their local health board.

She says, “We’ve had four cases, the entire time.  No hospitalizations.  No deaths.”

Johnson-Taylor says it was especially important they have their risk-level reduced this weekend.  Starting Saturday, Kanab will host a week-long celebration in honor of the city’s 150th anniversary.


Kane County is Utah’s first are to reach ‘green’ phase.  Here’s what that means

Friday numbers: Eight new COVID-19 deaths in Utah, tying high

Poll: Americans maintain virus precautions as states reopen

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirusis transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keepchildren and those with compromised immune systemsaway from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

UtahState Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Outdoors + Recreation

a dog plays in the snow with its owner, dogs need extra protection in winter...

Emma Keddington

Winter protection for your dog: ‘Treat your dog like you’re treating yourself’

If you have a dog, you should make sure they have the same amount of winter protection you'd give yourself.

5 hours ago

Midway Ice Castles tickets on sale...

Devin Oldroyd

Tickets for Midway Ice Castles are now on sale for January opening

The weather will dictate the opening, but the Midway Ice Castles exhibit is currently scheduled to be open between Jan. 13 and Feb. 3.

1 day ago

As ski season commences, UDOT wants to make sure those traveling to Utah's ski resorts follow the p...

Waverly Golden

Some Utah ski resorts have new parking policies, don’t get fined

As ski season commences, UDOT wants to make sure those traveling to Utah's ski resorts follow the parking policies in place.

1 day ago

A 37-year-old man was rescued after suffering a lower-leg fracture while BASE jumping in Grand Coun...

Bridger Beal-Cvetko KSL.com

2 BASE jumpers rescued in separate incidents near Moab over holiday weekend

Two BASE jumpers were rescued in separate incidents after being injured near Moab over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.

2 days ago

Lehi City is starting a new winter tradition and has converted a baseball field into a temporary ic...

Eric Cabrera

Lehi City builds temporary ice rink at Sports Complex

Lehi City is starting a new winter tradition and has converted a baseball field into a temporary ice rink. It will be open until Jan. 26.

3 days ago

A woman pushes a stroller on the sidewalk near the Christmas Lights at The Church of Jesus Christ o...


Where will Temple Square Christmas lights be located this year?

The lights will be turned on from 3:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. every evening and from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. every morning between through New Year's Day.

6 days ago

Sponsored Articles

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Human hand holding a protest banner stop vaping message over a crowded street background....

Prosperous Utah Communities

Utah’s Battle to Protect Youth from Vaping Epidemic Faces New Threat as Proposed Rule Threatens Progress

Utah's strict standards of nicotine levels in vaping products are at risk, increasing health hazards associated with use. Read more about how you can advocate for a better future for Utah's youth.

Aerial photo of Bear Lake shoreline with canopies and people camped out on the beach...

Visit Bear Lake

Last-Minute Summer Vacation Planning? Check Out Bear Lake!

Bear Lake is the perfect getaway if you are last-minute summer vacation planning. Enjoy activities with your whole family at this iconic lake.

As Kane County eases COVID-19 restrictions, how do business owners feel?