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Much of Utah is now in the 'yellow' risk level for COVID-19, here's what it means

Posted at 10:15 AM, May 16, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-16 12:15:22-04

SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Gary Herbert has signed an executive order moving much of the state to a "yellow" or "low risk" level for COVID-19.

The order, signed late Friday, follows through on his announcement that the state would start loosening some restrictions brought on by the virus. All businesses can re-open, but there are still strict health guidelines in place such as social distancing, wearing face masks in public, and hygiene and cleanliness standards.

Under the governor's order, every city and county moves to the lower risk level -- except Summit, Grand, Wasatch counties and Salt Lake City, West Valley City, and Magna, who will remain at the "orange" or "moderate risk" level. (Magna was added Friday night). Those communities are still seeing higher transmission rates. Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall has said the zip codes of 84116 and 84104 have some of the highest case loads of COVID-19 in the state.

For most businesses, the move from orange to yellow doesn't mean any lessening of health directives. Social distancing for customers must be enforced, employees must wear face masks (it is strongly encouraged for customers) and stricter hygiene and cleanliness standards are imposed. But some community events can open back up. For example, team sports can resume (with symptom checking and social distancing); pools can re-open (with social distancing), even restaurant buffets can re-open (but food must be served to customers and plates aren't set out).

Alongside Gov. Herbert's executive order, the Utah Department of Health released updated guidelines for specific parts of life from social gatherings to businesses. Click here to see the document: