JACKSON, Wyo. — During a special Town Council meeting on Feb. 23, Mayor Morton Levinson and Councilmembers passed a motion to help the town of Jackson create a policy in terms of special events.
Public Information and Special Events Officer, Carl Pelletier presented the council with two policies to choose from to make special event permitting more streamlined. The topic was previously discussed during the special Town Council workshop on Feb. 16.
In the meeting, Pelletier requested that the Town Council consider developing a policy for special event requests during the COVID-19 pandemic. “We’ve been working on a case by case basis with each applicant that would like to proceed with a special event in the town of Jackson,” said Pelletier.
He noted that this case-by-case policy is taxing on the staff and that with the upcoming spring and summer season, more special event applications will be filed with the town. “I have been receiving phone calls from a number of different organizers who are starting to plan their events for the spring and the summer, and one thing I’ve heard from them is that they would just love to have some predictability as we roll into the summer,” said Pelletier.
After nearly an hour of discussion, the council passed a motion to establish a special event policy consistent with special event policy one, a more restrictive policy. The motion was approved with 4-1 with Councilmember Jim Rooks opposed.
The policy defines small, medium, and large-sized events, and during the risk level in which those events will be permitted. Teton County Health Department officials approved the policies before they were brought before the council.
Rooks explained that he was in favor of the less restrictive policy and discussed the other situations in which large groups are permitted to gather. Rooks said, “We know that we have 5,000 skiers per day approximately skiing at Jackson Hole Mountain Resort, we know that we have local schools with upwards of 750 students per school per day and of course a decision via the school board last week to double the number of school days.”
Councilmembers discussed the different planning opportunities available, including event organizers counting the number of people who come and go from an event. For example, 500 people might attend an event over the course of four hours, but only 200 people will be present at any given time, making it a medium-sized event.
Snow King Event Center and the Fairgrounds are private event venues that do not require permits from the town of Jackson. “The town of Jackson does not permit any special events that are indoors,” clarified Pelletier.
The World Championship Snowmobile Hill Climb competition is not yet scheduled, Snow King Mountain lists the event date as “to be determined” but is still planning to hold the event in March.
The competition was canceled last year due to the onset of the COVID-19 virus. The Hill Climb is on the March 1st and 15th Town Council agenda.