Salt Lake County modifies public health order; Mayor encourages continued social distancing

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SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News)- Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson announced Friday the county will start to slowly ease up on the “Stay Safe, Safe Home” order.

The mayor explained the process is going to be slow-moving. They are calling the process “Stay Smart, Stay Safe.

The first is the modification of the “Stay at Home” portion of the order, which means residents can move about more freely as long as they take precautions, according to the mayor. The second aspect of the adjustment gives restaurants the ability to now take “in-restaurant” orders for take-out food.  Table service or dine-in service is still prohibited. 

Just last week county officials extended the stay-at-home order from April 15 to May 1.

“We want people to start thinking about getting back out again,” Mayor Wilson said.

Wilson stressed the importance of following social distancing guidelines and following sanitary guidelines.

“The social distancing measures of our residents, communities and businesses have paid off,” said Wilson. “So, we are cautiously and carefully beginning to ease restrictions. But we need to stress that face coverings and social distancing is still critical.”

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Earlier Friday, Governor Herbert and other Utah leaders released a plan to reopen Utah. During the press conference, the governor stressed the importance of regional differences and letting each county decide how they want to move forward.

Mayor Wilson said the county’s plan is right in line with the governor’s plan.

Large gatherings are still prohibited. Restaurants will still remain closed to indoor seating but patrons can now order food inside, as long as the social distancing guidelines are followed.

Last week, the County listed four areas that had to be addressed prior to easing Salt Lake County’s order. Gary Edwards, Executive Director of Salt Lake County Health Department, said the County was seeing progress in the four areas, which are specified as follows:

  1. A trend of decline in cases
  2. Hospital stabilization
  3. Testing capabilities for those with symptoms or those exposed to potential cases
  4. Contact tracing in place

Edwards added that while the progress is promising, residents need to continue doing their part to slow the spread of illness.

“The data shows that both social distancing and the use of face coverings are working—and are as important as ever,” said Edwards. “Face coverings are especially important for helping prevent asymptomatic carriers from spreading the virus.”

Mayor Wilson also reinforced 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 County continues to work to address needs for those with unique situations and health requirements.

“We are optimistic about the future, yet cautious at the same time,” said Mayor Wilson. “And as always, we will continue to make evidence-based decisions.” 

As of Friday, April 17th, Salt Lake County has 1,456 cases of COVID-19 and 12 deaths.

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