SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah, April 17, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson announced late Friday that the county will be easing restrictions in the Stay Home order issued earlier this month.
According to Wilson, the move is part of a coordinated strategy set forth in the state’s previously declared Utah Leads Together initiative in the battle against COVID-19.
Earlier Friday, Gov. Gary Herbert announced that the state is curtailing a number of restrictions, in some cases effective immediately.
Wilson said Salt Lake County would ease two current restrictions, the first of which “allows residents to move about more freely as long as they take precautions” and abide by social distancing.
The second modification allows eating establishments to resume “in-restaurant” ordering for carry-out food.
“Table service or dine-in service is still prohibited,” Wilson’s statement said. Those inside the restaurants would have to remain six feet apart while ordering.
“The social distancing measures of our residents, communities and businesses have paid off, so we are cautiously and carefully beginning to ease restrictions. But we need to stress that face coverings and social distancing is still critical.”
Gary Edwards, executive director of Salt Lake County Health Department, said Salt Lake County is seeing progress in four critical areas addressed last week and deemed necessary before restrictions could be lifted, including:
- A trend of decline in cases
- Hospital stabilization
- Testing capabilities for those with symptoms or those exposed to potential cases
- Contact tracing in place
“The data shows that both social distancing and the use of face coverings are working —and are as important as ever,” Edwards said. “Face coverings are especially important for helping prevent asymptomatic carriers from spreading the virus.”
Edwards added that while the progress is promising, residents need to continue doing their part to slow the spread of illness.
Wilson also addressed “the importance of protecting at-risk populations. Data has shown that confined living spaces, like senior living centers and homeless shelters, remain a challenge,” the mayor said. “The county continues to work to address needs for those with unique situations and health requirements.”
On Friday, it was revealed that 94 residents out of 205 at the Men’s Resource Center in South Salt Lake had tested positive for the virus.
“We are optimistic about the future, yet cautious at the same time,” said Wilson. “And as always, we will continue to make evidence-based decisions.”
On Friday morning, Gov. Herbert announced a tiered plan for restarting Utah’s economy by May 1, which includes the easing of restrictions with his original Stay at Home directive.
Herbert said he would like to see a resumption of sit-down dining in the state’s restaurants, provided social distancing is maintained. He also said physical fitness centers should be allowed to open.
Herbert also said if local medical facilities are not overrun come May, elective surgeries should be allowed to resume.
One order that went into effect Friday allows Utah’s state parks that are now open to remain open to all visitors, not just those who reside in the county in which the parks are located.
Herbert repeatedly said he would continuously seek the counsel of Utah’s medical community as he moves to restart the state’s economy, but said there are many considerations.
“This isn’t just about healthcare, but it’s about the livelihood of our people, too,” he said.