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Reporting from the St. George area focused on local government, public lands and the environment, indigenous issues and faith and spirituality.

St. George Cancels Events To Limit Visitors To Area, But People Are Still Welcome

Lexi Peery
St. George is a popular place for snowbirds and second homeowners, especially in the winter. And as the city cancels events because of surging COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.

St. George has already canceled events like the Snow Canyon Half Marathon and the Turkey Trot, which city officials said is to limit people coming to the area.

Councilmember Michele Randall said during a city council meeting Thursday the decision was made by the city because the hospital staff in the area are “very overwhelmed.”

However, St. George is a popular place for snowbirds — people who move to warmer climates in the winter — and second homeowners who will be flocking to the area as the weather gets colder.

Harriet Gesteland and her husband are in their 80s and switch off between living in Ivins and Salt Lake City. She said even though she’s frustrated to see fewer people wearing masks in Southern Utah, they’ll likely spend more time in Ivins to avoid the winter weather.

We feel a little bit safer down here because we're obviously not doing things and we can be outdoors, which is very nice with winter coming on and we can’t do that up in Salt Lake as much,” Gesteland said.

St. George Mayor Jon Pike said even though the city is taking precautions like canceling fall events, people are still welcome — if they follow public health directions.

“Whether people live here full time, whether they want to visit or their part time residents, if we're here one way or another, we just need to take those precautions that we've been hearing about for the last seven months.” Pike said. “Especially now, we really need to be careful when in close contact with other people, even extended family.”

Southwest Utah has reported over 7,000 cases of COVID-19 since the start of the pandemic and there are currently 35 residents hospitalized.

Lexi is KUER's Southwest Bureau reporter
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