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SALT LAKE CITY — At 12:01 a.m. on Friday, Utah officially moved from high risk to a moderate risk phase under the Utah Leads Together 2.0 plan. Along with the transition comes loosened COVID-19 restrictions.
Gov. Gary Herbert said the state can now “cautiously relax some requirements” because of the strides made over the past month.
“We aren’t returning to business as usual yet,” Herbert said in a prepared statement on Wednesday. “But Utahns' diligence over the past month has given us time to build our healthcare capacity and PPE stores.”
Under the new guidelines, Utahns are able to see small groups of friends and family who have also followed social distancing and health recommendations. However, residents are still asked to remain home as much as possible.
We are watching data very closely as we enter the orange phase. If necessary, we will quickly transition back to red. Please exercise caution as we loosen restrictions this weekend. #utcovid19— Gov. Gary Herbert (@GovHerbert) April 30, 2020
Additionally, dine-in restaurants, gyms, salons and other personal care businesses are allowed to reopen under strict guidelines.
“If Utahns continue to exercise caution, we can continue flattening the curve and stay below our hospital capacity, while resuming some normalcy in our business and social interactions,” Herbert said.
The relaxed restrictions come as part of the state’s plan to facilitate its economic recovery. While parts of the Beehive State are now opening, others remain indefinitely closed.
A few days after schools moved to online learning, Herbert issued a ban on dine-in eating at restaurants on March 17.
The state’s stay-at-home directive wasn’t issued until the week after on March 27.
Wear a mask in public. Practice social distancing. Wash your hands as frequently as feasible. We are moving to orange, but now is not the time to relax.— Gov. Gary Herbert (@GovHerbert) April 30, 2020
Herbert’s “Stay Safe, Stay Home” directive asked Utahns to stay home as much as possible and participate in social distancing. It also banned the use of playground equipment. While the directive emphasized the importance of staying home, Herbert stressed it was not a shelter-in-place order.
Two days before the state’s health directive was implemented, Summit County became the first in the state to issue a stay-at-home order, which closed nonessential businesses.
Salt Lake County followed suit on March 29 and issued a stay-at-home health order that also closed nonessential businesses.
A few weeks later, Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson eased its health order by removing the stay home portion and allowing residents to enter food establishments to order.
Earlier this week, Salt Lake County strongly recommended residents wear a face mask while out in public and required anyone receiving a personal service cover their face.