Salt Lake County expands ‘Stay Safe, Stay Home’ order, additional businesses must close

Man in downtown Salt Lake City wears a protective face mask after shopping for groceries Sunday, March 29, 2020. Photo: Gephardt Daily/Patrick Benedict

SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah, March 29, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake County Health Department, in collaboration with Mayor Jenny Wilson, issued its own version of the “Stay Safe, Stay Home” initiative Sunday, including the right of police to enforce the order with possible misdemeanor charges against “repeat or egregious offenders.”

State law requires penalties for violating a local public health order. While penalties outlined by state code classify the offense as a misdemeanor (class B for the initial offense, class A for repeat offenses), Salt Lake County has asked local municipalities to first enforce the public health order by way of warnings, rather than citation and arrest.

The new order, called Salt Lake County: Stay Safe, Stay Home,” is effective from 12:01 a.m. on Monday, March 30, and will be in place until 11:59 p.m. on Monday, April 13.

Under the county’s expanded order:

  1. All individuals are directed to stay at home except to engage in essential activities, which include going to work, buying groceries, under the conditions outlined in the order.
  2. All restaurants and bars are to remain closed, with the exception of those offering take-out, curbside, and home delivery services.
  3. Closes certain businesses (see list below) which act as gathering places or involve close contact between people.
  4. Closes children’s playgrounds and prohibits team sports, including pickup games, though outdoor sport courts and fields will remain open for use by individuals and for individuals that reside in the same household. Residents are asked to responsibly enjoy recreational amenities by always maintaining 6 feet from people outside of their household.
  5. Requires businesses to actively enforce social distancing practices and exclude ill employees from working; social distancing should include at least 6 feet between all people in the establishment, and workers symptomatic with respiratory illness or fever must not be present under any circumstances.
  6. Defines essential businesses that should do their best to comply with social distancing recommendations but, due to the nature of their operations, may be unable to fully comply and are therefore exempt from order enforcement. Essential businesses must still exclude ill employees from working.

The expanded list of businesses required to close includes:

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Businesses closed:
• Hair, nail, and eyelash salons
• Barber shops
• Waxing/electrolysis providers
• Day spas and estheticians
• Permanent makeup
• Eyebrow threading
• Body art facilities (tattoo/piercing)
• Massage and tanning
• Swimming pools and splash pads
• Aquariums, zoos, aviaries, and museums
• Playgrounds and recreation centers
• Arcades, bowling alleys, and movie theaters
• Gyms and fitness centers
• Theaters and performance venues
• Indoor play centers
• Social clubs

Essential businesses that can still remain open, subject to certain restrictions, include:

Essential Businesses:
• Grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, and gas stations
• Automotive and bicycle supply, repair, and sales
• Pet supply and veterinary services
• Food pantries
• Food and beverage production
• Religious institutions and charitable and social services
• Childcare centers
• Insurance and financial service providers
• Hardware and supplies stores
• Critical construction trades
• Mail, shipping, and delivery
• Laundromats and dry cleaners
• Home-based care providers
• Legal, accounting, and real estate
• Hotels and motels
• Higher education
• Transportation, utilities, and other essential infrastructure
• Media and essential government functions
• Any business or worker included among the U.S. Department of Homeland Security’s critical infrastructure sectors
• Food service (see below)

“This order complements both the Governor’s directive and the intent of Salt Lake City’s current order,” said Wilson. “Our collective goal is to save lives and keep our health system from being overwhelmed.

“Reducing opportunities for people to congregate is one of the most important things we can do to help ‘flatten the curve’ and minimize stress on our healthcare system. This order strikes the right balance between public and economic health by prohibiting only the business practices most concerning when it comes to transmission of COVID-19.”

Gary Edwards, executive director of the Salt Lake County Health Department, added: “It is imperative that every individual and family in the county do their part to maintain physical distance from others in the community. The degree to which community members follow this order will directly determine how well Salt Lake County weathers this outbreak.”

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