Committee say Lamb Day
fate is still uncertain
By Doug Lowe
FOUNTAIN GREEN—While big changes and cancellations have been announced for many popular public events across Sanpete County, the future of Fountain Green’s Lamb Day celebration remained uncertain.
Two weeks ago, on May 21, as the city council held its first face-to-face meeting in months, with all members wearing face masks, they soon confronted the big question of the evening, “You’re not canceling Lamb Day, are you?”
First to respond was Mayor Willard Wood, who said, “Sadly, that is probably the conclusion we will reach tonight.”
Voicing agreement with the mayor’s assessment, council member Shelith Jacobsen referred to recently received instructions from the Central Utah Health Dept. before concluding, “I don’t see how we can comply with all this and still hold Lamb Day.”
A sobering hypothetical scenario, prepared by a hospital statistician familiar with COVID-19 (who is also a friend of Fountain Green), presented numbers that gave everyone pause. Assuming that 1,000 people would attend Lamb Day, the scenario concluded that at least one or two attendees would unknowingly bring the virus with them, with the result that some 20 people would become infection, with one or two of those infected individuals actually dying.
As the discussion continued, many reasons for and against Lamb Day were considered. The pros and cons of holding one or more of the usual events, like the popular softball tournament, received considerable discussion. The softball tournament, in particular, had strong advocates. But, others pointed out that social distancing would be hard to enforce; the snack bar would probably need to remain closed; and that keeping the restrooms to virus prevention standards would be costly and time consuming.
A serious argument against the softball games involved the possible increase liability of the city as the event’s sponsor. It was suggested that anyone contracting COVID-19, while watching or playing, would then have grounds to sue the city.
All the discussion of Lamb Day concluded with council officially postponing any decision until its meeting in June. In the interim, council requested that Eddie Hanson, and others on the Lamb Day Committee, use that time to research various options and come up with a recommendation.
Interviewed after the council meeting, Hanson reported that he hoped the Lamb Day committee would soon meet to begin considering alternatives to complete cancellation. But, he cautioned, “I don’t know if we can come up with anything, and I don’t want to give people false hope.”
Ironically, while the future of Lamb Day events, like softball, still remains to be seen, council did give it blessing to the plans of another organization to hold a young women’s softball tournament using the city’s facilities. Kassie and Ryan Johnson, residents of Fountain Green and leaders of the organization Sanpete Softball, sought and received permission to rent the town’s ball field, bleachers and restrooms for their upcoming 12-team tournament.
After explaining their planned safety precautions, which includes recording each player’s temperature at every practice and game, and stating that their program carried its own insurance, the Johnson agreed to assume responsibility for restroom cleaning, and pay for the electricity used to illuminate night games during the two day tournament.
Reassured that the city’s liability would be negligible, the council gave its approval.
In the days since that meeting in late May, the number of positive coronavirus cases in Sanpete County has doubled. In light of that recent bad news for public health, Mayor Wood commented, “In my opinion, it is not worth risking anyone’s life to enjoy some lamb sandwiches, or to do other fun things we can put off until later in the summer or until next year.”