SALT LAKE CITY — Following weeks of increasing case numbers, Mayor Erin Mendenhall is formally requesting the governor move Utah's capital city to "orange" on the COVID-19 restriction level.
"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 in a statement on Tuesday. "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."
FOX 13 first reported last week that the mayor was contemplating such an action. Moving back to orange restriction levels would limit social gatherings to 20, but also limits some other business activities like types of indoor dining and places some restrictions on gyms.
In her statement, Mayor Mendenhall said it was necessary.
"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," she said. "We are all accustomed now to taking precautions in public; let’s take these safety measures with us everywhere we go."
It is unclear if Governor Gary Herbert will grant the request. He recently moved Provo and Orem to "orange" because of a surge of cases there. The majority of the state is in either a yellow or green restriction level.