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Governor’s Economic Task Force outlines plan for protecting Utah's economy in face of unprecedented challenges

By Salt Lake Chamber | Posted - Mar. 25, 2020 at 3:00 p.m.



Going through a pandemic and sizable earthquake reminds one of what is important in life. It’s our health, families, jobs and state. During this era of social distancing, we can learn the power of persistence. It was Thomas Paine who stated, "these are the times that try men’s souls ... that the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph." These words seem apropos to our current situation battling an invisible enemy.

The coronavirus has recalibrated our sense of time, health and economic future. Anticipating this challenge, Gov. Gary Herbert created the Economic Response Task Force and appointed Salt Lake Chamber President and CEO Derek Miller to chair the group. Miller assembled many of the most capable minds in the state to outline a plan of action to combat the negative effects of the coronavirus.

The Task Force had one primary goal in laying out this comprehensive plan, namely to provide Utah businesses and employees with clarity around health and economic recovery.

State leaders laid out a three-step plan for Utah to stay on a path to recovery.

These phases include an Urgent Phase, the Stabilization Phase and a Recovery Phase. The time and estimation benchmarks are as follows:

  • Urgent Phase: Coordinated public health response coupled with historic economic stimulus. The estimated duration is eight to 12 weeks with the measure of challenge being job declines.
  • Stabilization Phase: Public health measures and economic interventions begin to take hold. The estimated time frame is ten to 14 weeks and primary measurable is job stabilization.
  • Recovery Phase: Return to stability and positive job growth. This phase relies on prior success and is estimated at eight to 10 weeks in duration. This phase will need to see a bending of the economic curve upwards after we have flattened the dip.

According to the report, local support is critical to the service industry as it is one of the hardest hit due to the coronavirus. Many stores are offering Senior and Immunocompromised store hours to help the vulnerable population. Scientists at the University of Utah were awarded a national grant to study how environmental conditions may affect the virus. This will be important as hopes of a summer thaw on virus spread is yet to be determined.

Our local businesses are showing leadership in the way they adapt, innovate, and overcome. For example: The City Journals have teamed up with Localfluence to bring you curbsideutah.com. This is a web-based directory with the purpose of listing local restaurants providing curbside options despite the COVID-19 restrictions and you can get listed for free. Again the site is curbsideutah.com.

Another item that businesses are doing right now is letting consumers know what they are doing to stay open and safe. Most people check their social accounts several times daily, so share pictures, tweet and get your message out to come and support their local favorites.

As part of the governor’s rollout of Utah Leads Together, we are encouraging businesses to use the hashtag #utahleadstogether, #openforbusiness and @saltlakechamber to share positive stories with your customers. Now is the time to 10X your efforts around customer outreach demonstrating your best practices and invite clients into your business anew.

Further, given the governor’s call for Utahns to donate and help their neighbors we hope those in a position to give will take the opportunity to do so now.

Derek Miller at the Salt Lake Chamber during a press conference yesterday stated "As our knowledge of the virus expands we will adapt to its risks and through innovation we will overcome its challenges. The history of Utah shows that we are at our best when facing adversity. We are the beneficiaries of a legacy that turned a barren desert into the most powerful state economy in America. It’s part of our history, it's part of our heritage and it is in our DNA. And I am confident we can turn this setback into an economic comeback!"

View the state’s Economic Response Plan at coronavirus.utah.gov/business.

Salt Lake Chamber

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