Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Utah, US, to allow the reopening of certain businesses starting May 1. Other restrictions in place through at least May 15.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Salt Lake City, Utah
  • Vernal, Utah
  • Moab, Utah
  • St. George, Utah
  • Ogden, Utah
  • Provo, Utah

This alert began 30 Apr 2020 22:21 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Utah (map)
  • Date: Through at least May 15
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Utah Governor Gary Herbert has issued an executive order reducing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) risk level from "high" (red) to "moderate" (orange) on the state's four-tier recovery plan, enabling certain businesses to resume operating as of May 1. At the moderate risk tier, restaurants may restart limited dining-in services and retail stores may reopen, provided they limit the number of persons inside such establishments at any given time and that employees and customers wear protective face masks.

Other businesses and facilities that may reopen starting May 1 include hotels and lodging establishments, entertainment venues, daycare centers, construction companies, places of worship, and personal care businesses. However, the recovery plan requires that all such establishments that resume operations during the moderate-risk tier take significant precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Authorities continue to encourage that work-from-home policies be implemented wherever possible.

Under the new order, which remains in force through at least May 15, residents are still encouraged to leave home infrequently, wear protective face masks when in public, avoid gatherings of 20 or more people, and limit out of state travel. Authorities also require that travelers entering the state from high-risk areas self-quarantine for 14 days.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will almost certainly keep additional security personnel deployed to assist in enforcing all restrictions. Officials could amend the orders at short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures will likely accelerate in the coming weeks; however, restrictions may be reimposed or extended further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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