Reopening Utah: What does the transition from red to orange phase mean?

Concerns & Questions

Grand County, Summit County, Wasatch County, Salt Lake City and West Valley City remain in the orange phase, but as of May 16th the rest of the state will be moving to the yellow/low-risk phase.


Utah (ABC4 News) — On Wednesday, Governor Gary Herbert announced that Utah will be moving from the high risk to moderate risk phase of slowing the spread of COVID-19 on Friday, May 1.

In the color-coded guideline system, high risk is represented by the color red and moderate, the color orange. According to Herbert, the changes of decreasing restrictions will come gradually-like turning a dial, not flipping a switch. 

“We aren’t returning to business as usual yet,” Gov. Gary R. Herbert said. “In fact, we will not return to ‘normal’ for a significant period of time. But Utahns’ diligence over the past month has given us time to build our healthcare capacity and PPE stores. We can now cautiously relax some requirements, and allow businesses that were closed to operate with safety measures in place. 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.”

Wondering what this move from red phase to orange phase means for you? ABC4 News if There 4 You and will answer your questions.

Gov. Herbert stated that this is not a one-size-fits all plan, and different regions in Utah should work with their local health departments to transition through the phases of the plan according to their own needs.

First, what does this transition mean for Utah businesses?

Businesses

 Utah businesses can begin opening up and operating but only under strict guidelines.

Beginning Friday, restaurants can allow dining-in options, though only under extreme precautions. For example, tables are limited to ten guests at a time and all must preferably be from the same family. In addition, tables containing separate parties should be spaced at least six feet away from one another. Click here to see specific precautions that different types of businesses must take in opening.

The site includes precautions for businesses from grocery stores to day care facilities and fitness centers.

In every color phase, high-risk individuals operate under specific instructions issued by the Utah Department of Health. 

In moving to the orange phase, the restrictions on social gatherings will also change.

Who’s open right now?

Social gatherings 

Many might be wondering what expectations are still in place for social gatherings. Gathering size suggestions have been changed from 10 to 20 people in attendance. 

It is important that individuals attending the gatherings consider the following:

  • No one attending the gathering should be sick or experiencing COVID-19 symptoms
  • Maintain social distancing guidelines, especially if you have been around someone who is sick
  • Take extra precautions if any family members are vulnerable

The Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force encouraged all Utahns to take the transition seriously and do their part to keep the state safe. Part of phase orange includes the recommendation that all Utahns wear masks when out in public or in areas where social distancing cannot be maintained.

Governor Herbert announced a new program “A Mask for every Utahn,” on Tuesday as Utah prepared to enter phase orange.

The project is a public-private partnership to provide a free mask to Utahns who do not have one. The funding for the masks comes from the Utah CARES Act.

Children and high-risk individuals are vulnerable populations and should continue to follow the specific safety guidelines outlined here.

Finally, indviduals should continue to follow the basic safety guidelines listed below:

  • Stay 6 feet away from others when outside the home unless not possible
  • Face coverings worn in interactions that take place within a 6-foot distance
  • In-person interactions limited to individual households and those who have been following recommended distancing/hygiene guidelines; increase use of virtual interactions
  • Leave home infrequently
  • Limit out-of-state travel, quarantine 14 days upon return from high-risk areas

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