Tooele County Health officials say they haven’t approved venue change for controversial concert

Photos: Collin Raye Facebook/Google Maps

GRANTSVILLE, Utah, May 21, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — The controversy surrounding a concert by country artist Collin Raye continues Thursday.

The concert, organized by Utah Business Revival, was originally due to take place on May 30 as part of a free event in Kaysville’s Barnes Park from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m.

A press release from Utah Business Revival on May 14 said: “Mayor Katie Witt has opened up the city of Kaysville for country music legend Collin Raye to share some of his sixteen #1 hits with Utah. This event is one of the, if not the, first live concert being held across the United States of America. Kaysville Mayor Witt said, ‘Come support our local businesses, listen to country music, and be a pioneer and a patriot with us!'”

The press release went on: “Collin Raye said to Eric Moutsos of the Utah Business Revival, ‘I would be honored to come to Kaysville for the first live concert in America. Music is an extremely powerful tool to help heal our souls, especially in times of uncertainty.'”

The initial press release concluded: “This event hopes to inspire businesses and organizations all over the country. This is not just a concert, it is an event that wants to send a positive message that maybe it’s time we unify and not let this be another enemy of this country that we will need to overcome.”

Witt drew immediate criticism for approving the event despite restrictions on mass gatherings as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

On Thursday, Utah Business Revival announced the event is set to be held near Grantsville.

“UBR has identified an alternate location and is relocating the May 30 event to Studio Ranch Amphitheater near Grantsville,” said a follow-up news release. “There will be enough space available for up to 300 businesses to participate at this new venue.”

However, at noon Thursday, Tooele County Health Department released the following statement on Facebook, titled “Utah Business Revival Unpermitted Mass Gathering.”

Today we became aware that the Utah Business Revival announced they would be moving their Collin Raye concert to the Studio Ranch Amphitheater located in Tooele County. This event has not been approved by Tooele County or the Tooele County Health Department.

According to state code R392-400 all mass gatherings over 1,000 people must receive a permit by the health department where the event will be located. No permit application has been received by Tooele County Health Department to review. This review covers mass gathering event strategies for restrooms, traffic, safety, and other concerns.

COVID-19 transmission adds an additional worry because at an event like this it is nearly impossible to maintain social distancing. Tooele County Health Department is very concerned about the lack of permitting for this event. Our greatest concern is for the health and safety of our citizens. After an event is held without a permit it is possible for the health department to file charges against the property owner for allowing an unpermitted event to take place.

Public health cannot anticipate every unique situation. Residents must take personal responsibility to take actions based on common sense and wise judgment that will protect health and safety. Utah and Tooele County are doing a great job flattening the COVID-19 curve and we do not want to see a spike in COVID-19 cases come from an unapproved event like this. We want to promote community unity and at the same time protect the health and well-being of our citizens.

Facebook users were quick to react to the post, with some expressing support for the concert and some saying it’s just too soon.

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“This isn’t the time to be offering a free concert,” wrote one user. “We all want our high risk family members to be safe, we can hold out little longer. #disappointed I know so many people are itching to go out. Let’s do it’s in safe way, keep to current social guidelines. I don’t want to see Tooele County go back to red phase because of this. I hope you file charges. The UBR letter today proved how childish they really are.”

Another user wrote: “This is a social distancing event. Don’t waste our tax dollars fighting this. This will help the Tooele and Grantsville economy so much. The small businesses that will set up booths at this event are hurting. We have the right to assemble peacefully and will respect social distancing.”

Gephardt Daily will have more on this developing story as information is made available.

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