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Back in business; Southeast Utah Health shifting to moderate restrictions

Posted at 10:37 PM, Apr 29, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-06 12:48:30-04

As one of the first health departments in Utah to implement a public health order pertaining to COVID-19 prevention, the Southeast Utah Health Department is beginning to ease those restrictions in efforts to open up businesses.

Beginning Friday, May 1, SEUHD will be shifting from a ‘high-risk phase’ to a ‘moderate risk phase’.

“Due to collaborative capacity building and preparation, the health department, Moab Regional Hospital in Grand County, and Castleview Hospital in Carbon County are confident that they have sufficient testing services, medical supplies, personal protective equipment, and tracking capabilities to transition to the Moderate Risk Phase, with locally suggested lodging restrictions in place in Grand County,” said the Southeast Utah Health Department in a statement.

The amendments beginning on Friday will be in effect until May 25, 2020.

“Our health department and our hospital said we flattened the curve, we created a mechanism to slow the spread of coronavirus in our community so that we could activate the resources that we need so that as we reopen we can treat people that are infected by coronavirus,” said Mayor of Moab, Emily Niehaus. “We want to protect our visitors and so our health department has asked that businesses and employees at businesses wear masks now we are encouraging visitors to do the same.”

Niehaus anticipates businesses are ready for visitors again, but not at max capacity. Hotels and Lodging in Grand County are at a different restriction than Emery and Carbon Counties; which removed all restrictions.

“If you can get lodging reservation, you’re probably ok to come to Moab and practice social distancing and enjoy all the Moab has to offer,” said Niehaus.

While Moab will start to welcome visitors in a limited capacity, both nearby Arches and Canyonlands National Parks aren’t expected to be open this weekend.

The Southeast Utah Group of National Parks released a statement to FOX 13:

“In accordance with guidance from the White House, CDC, and local public health authorities, the Department of the Interior and the National Park Service are working to gradually increase access to national parks in a safe manner. The NPS will continue to work with state and local officials as these changes are implemented.

“We just now last night have our third reported case I think that that data does really suggest that the temporary, very temporary closure of the park did help us in flattening the curve and that’s what we tried to do and I think we succeeded,” said Niehaus regarding the closure of area National Parks and how it contributed to the overall prevention of COVID-19 spread.

Hospitals within the Southeast Utah Health Department scope are also shifting back to a more ‘routine’ way of business.

“I agree with the restrictions, I think they helped, it wasn’t always easy, but I think we’re able to start offering procedures again because we flattened that curve to some extent,” said CEO Greg Cook of Castleview Hospital located in Price. “It’s time to start opening back up a little bit we’ve got a plan in place to start offering some elective procedures on a limited basis.”

Castleview has roughly 39 hospital beds and sectioned off a portion of the hospital for COVID-19 testing and care.

“We never treated anyone in our hospital as of yet, definitely tested some individuals through our testing site that tested positive, but we’ve been very fortunate to have our staff and the supplies available so far,’ said Cook. “I think we’ve learned a lot about our capabilities and our preparedness and definitely will be making some decisions that I think will help us should this happen again.”

Highlights of the SEUD shift to moderate include:

  • Food Establishments:

ALL COUNTIES: Indoor and outdoor dining is limited to 6 foot spacing between parties. Full details on the required cleaning processes and safety procedures can be found at


CARBON & EMERY COUNTIES: Removes restrictions, increased sanitation practices. Social distancing should still be practiced.

GRAND COUNTY: Available for essential visitors, primary residents of Grand County, and primary residents of Green River, Utah. Social distancing should still be practiced and no camps consisting of more than 10 people, unless all are of the same immediate family.


CARBON & EMERY COUNTIES: Removes restrictions with increased sanitation practices.


Hotels, Motels, Bed & Breakfasts, Hostels

Reservations allowed with occupancy limitations based on the size of the facility. A 72-Hour Rest Period is required based on scientific studies indicating that the COVID-19 virus can remain stable on certain surfaces for up to three (3) days (i.e., 72 hours).

0-20 rooms: full occupancy permitted.
21-50 rooms: 20 rooms plus 50% of rooms 21-50 may be occupied.
51+ rooms: 35 rooms plus 25% of rooms in excess of 51 may be occupied.

Commercial Campgrounds, Recreational Vehicle (RV) Parks

● Permissible occupancy for RV and tent sites is 50% capacity and 30% for cabins.

Short-term rentals (e.g. condos, nightly rentals, “AirBnB,” “VRBO,” etc.)

● Permissible occupancy is 100% capacity, with a 72-Hour Rest Period.

Non-Commercial Camping (primitive camping, dispersed camping, etc.)

● In Grand County, non-commercial camping shall remain closed to non-residents until the National Parks are reopened.

To learn more about Southeast Utah Health Department’s restrictions pertaining to gyms, personal services (salons, spas, etc) or the general business guidelines: