Utah Moves From High Risk to Moderate Risk, Governor Announces

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Governor Gary Herbert was presented with a recommendation letter recently regarding the guidelines the state is following to combat COVID-19. This recommendation letter informed the governor that the Public Health and Economic Emergency Commission met to discuss recommendations regarding the state’s response to the COVID-19 emergency.

The commission discussed a plan for the state to operate under an economic and health guidance level that is immediately below the highest risk economic health guidance level and reasonable guidelines under which healthcare providers may perform elective surgeries and procedures, and restaurants may resume or continue normal operations.

The commission, by unanimous vote, recommended that the governor adopt and implement the orange level of public health guidance as described in the “Utah Leads Together” plan prepared by the Economic Response Task Force that was released on April 17.

With that recommendation in mind, the governor announced an addendum to Utah Leads Together 2.01. The Governor’s Office of Management and Budget, as well as the Utah Department of Health and assistance from Leavitt Partners, have developed recommendations to support the road map for reactivation of the Utah economy while still working to stabilize public health. The guidelines that have now been set forth possibly provide appropriate flexibility for regions within the state to proactively protect public health, reactivate the economy and minimize damage to Utah’s quality of life.

The governor’s announcement included a disclaimer that the recommendations are subject to modification and may be superseded by county or local health department guidance. The orange level, as recommended, is a moderate risk level. General public and and employers are recommended to use extreme caution with face coverings worn in public settings where other social distancing practices are difficult.

All are still being cautioned to leave home infrequently and stay six feet away from others when outside the home. Social gatherings are limited to 20 or fewer, schools remain closed, and employees and volunteers should operate remotely unless not possible. Symptom checking will also continue to take place in business interactions. Restaurants in particular are highlighted for the orange tier with tables being limited to groups of six that are preferably within the same household.

All of this information and more, as always, may be viewed at www.coronavirus.utah.gov.

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