SALT LAKE CITY – (ABC4 News) Governor Herbert announced that Utah is moving from Moderate Risk Orange to Low Risk Yellow beginning at 12:01 a.m. May 16th.

Most cities in Salt Lake County are moving to yellow except for two of them– Salt Lake City and West Valley City–which will stay at orange levels of alert.

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Salt Lake City stays at Orange phase for now

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A statement sent to ABC4 News from Mayor Jenny Wilson’s office says:

Salt Lake County had earlier in the week requested a countywide exemption that would have allowed us to continue operating under orange guidelines for an additional 10 days.  The State chose not to approve that request.

FILE – This March 8, 2018, file photo, shows the exterior of the Utah State Capitol in Salt Lake City. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer, File)

We are encouraged that Salt Lake City and West Valley City – who have each experienced a higher positive case rate — will receive exemptions and will continue to operate under the Orange guidelines.  But we also understand that the virus doesn’t recognize municipal boundaries and therefore, countywide caution and prudence will still be essential for success.

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While we recognize progress is being made and we have observed a general leveling of cases, we believe that more time is needed to assess the impacts of phased re-opening.  The state’s previous order went into effect on May 1 and many businesses didn’t reopen until May 4, providing only 10 days of moderate risk operation.  The county had requested an additional 10 days to analyze trends to be truly confident in the stabilization of the spread of COVID-19.

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Under the new order, Salt Lake County will continue to focus on targeted interventions among high-risk communities and vulnerable populations.  We have increased testing, education and outreach in these areas and are seeing success.  We will work closely with Salt Lake City and West Valley City to support their efforts and work toward phased reopening of these cities. 

Our Salt Lake County Health Department strongly supports and follows the CDC guidelines of wearing face coverings and social distancing as the most effective ways to keep communities safe.  Now, more than ever, we need to be united in the commitment to those safe practices.

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We value collaboration with the state, surrounding counties and cities and hope we can work together to maintain the success we’ve seen and continue to look out for the safety of our residents.

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