Riverton Mayor Trent Staggs issued the following statement on March 20, 2020, regarding Salt Lake County’s order to limit public gatherings to 10 people or less:
As mayor, my priority is always the health and safety of Riverton residents. It is critical that we preserve our institutions and constitution especially when times are uncertain. During this time of a declared state of emergency, I strongly encourage Riverton residents to act responsibly and make safe choices to protect themselves and their families. And, I have faith that they will do so.
Last night, I learned that Salt Lake County, through the County Mayor’s Office, issued an order limiting all gatherings in the county to 10 people or less. Violating this order can be punished as a class B misdemeanor – equating to 6 months in jail or a $1,000 fine. It appears the Governor has now weighed in on this, seeing how problematic such an order would be, and is urging repeal of the order.
I am asking Riverton’s chief of police to direct his officers to protect public peace and continue to act with public safety in mind. At this time, I have asked that officers do not enforce Salt Lake County’s order and will ask that none of these individuals be prosecuted. Committing valuable police resources to enforcing such an order, to me, would not at all be beneficial, nor prioritizing the health and safety of our residents. It seems disingenuous to me that the county would have created this order at a time when courts are shutting down and only prosecuting the most serious of crimes.
I have faith that the people of Riverton and the entrepreneurs who have located in Riverton will make appropriate precautionary measures including ceasing operations if it is the correct decision for them.
The test to our constitutional republic is our resilience in the most difficult times, and until we have more data we must be deliberate in balancing public health with civil liberties. This is not a time for enacting economy crushing measures to merely keep up the appearance of action on the part of your government.
As mayor I have ensured that social distancing and hygienic best practices are being followed without interrupting services. Our city continues to function, despite all the challenges that are being presented by the virus, and even by directives coming from other layers of government. Our water system is absolutely safe, our police officers and first responders continue to patrol and provide critical services, acting very heroically, our employees are at city hall and prepared to serve the public.
We have also created a number of resources for our business community and residents. Residents and businesses can visit Riverton City’s website, rivertonutah.gov, for more information and to gain access to critical resources if needed. I want to commend all of our residents. We have so many who have asked me how they can help, and I see neighbors helping neighbors. It is a real credit and testament to the type of individuals we have in our great city. Thank you and may God bless our great community of Riverton.