Following weeks of increasing new case numbers and the three highest recorded COVID-19 case counts in the City and Salt Lake County during the course of the pandemic, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall formally requested the City be allowed to return to the “orange” or moderate restriction level under the Utah Leads Together guidelines.
“Our data’s continuing upward trend is alarming and swift action is necessary. The shift to orange should be a signal to Salt Lake City residents of the gravity of this situation,” Mayor Mendenhall said. “With this request, I hope to specifically target the behaviors that are leading to increased infections, like large gatherings, and will work with state and county leaders and other stakeholders to tailor restrictions to those activities. We want to continually adapt and evolve necessary precautions to net the public health benefits we need, so that we can impact these numbers without unnecessarily putting burdens on city residents and businesses. We all need to stay safe to keep businesses open.”
The request to shift would put a limit on social gatherings to 20, as opposed to allowing for 50 in yellow. The Mayor may also request to modify some of the orange guidelines to ensure that they reflect the evolution and adaptations that businesses and others have made in recent months that allow safe activity.
“Since the color-code restriction levels were created early this spring, public health officials and businesses have evolved their practices to effectively address the health and safety of the public without having to be as restrictive as some of the guidelines initially required,” Mayor Mendenhall said.
“There’s no underscoring how trying this pandemic has been for people everywhere. We’ve had to make sacrifices and drastically alter the way we live. But the rise in case numbers and public health data shows that while we are practicing physical distancing and mask wearing in some settings, some is not enough. It is imperative that we wear masks every time we are with people not from our immediate household,” Mayor Mendenhall added. “We are all accustomed now to taking precautions in public; let’s take these safety measures with us everywhere we go.”
The request for Salt Lake City to shift to moderate risk will now be taken into consideration by Salt Lake County and the State, and if accepted could go into effect as early as this weekend.