Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson issued a stay-at-home order for the entire county Sunday afternoon, shifting the preventative guidelines from Gov. Gary Herbert as mandatory. The order goes into effect Monday, March 30 at 12:01 a.m. until April 13.
While state law requires penalties for violating local public health orders, Mayor Wilson notes the county will enforce the order initially by warnings rather than citations. However, repeat offenders or egregious violations may be cited and charged.
This comes two days after Gov. Herbert issued his “Stay Safe, Stay Home” directive Friday, advising Utahns to stay home unless necessary to leave. However, that order was not required.
Hours following the governor’s announcement, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall issued a stay-at-home order Friday, enforcing the social distancing guidelines with the force of local law.
“This order complements both the Governor’s directive and the intent of Salt Lake City’s current order,” said Mayor Jenny Wilson in a statement. Our collective goal is to save lives and keep our health system from being overwhelmed.”
Under Mayor Wilson’s order, all individuals in the county must stay home except to engage in essential activities. These activities can include going to work and grocery shopping.
However, the new order will close some businesses that act as social gathering places or involve close contact with people. It will also close children’s playgrounds and team sport activities, only allowing outdoor recreational activities between family members.
“Reducing opportunities for people to congregate is one of the most important things we can do to help ‘flatten the curve’ and minimize stress on our healthcare system,” Wilson said. “This order strikes the right balance between public and economic health by prohibiting only the business practices most concerning when it comes to transmission of COVID-19.”
Under the order, businesses intended for public amusement and activity will be closed. This includes aquariums, zoos, private swimming pools, gyms, fitness centers, museums and other recreation centers.
It also closes salon and spa businesses, including barber shops, nail salons and other facilities.
The order does permit those leaving for essential activities to do so, in the case of a health emergency, caring for a family member, necessary supplies or services, etc.
It also permits walks and hikes outside, so long as residents adhere to the six-foot social distancing guidelines recommended by the local government.
The order will be in effect for two weeks, similar to the governor’s directive and Salt Lake City mayor’s order. Then, city officials will reassess conditions to determine next steps.
“It is imperative that every individual and family in the county do their part to maintain physical distance from others in the community,” said Gary Edwards, executive director of the Salt Lake County Health Department, in a statement. “The degree to which community members follow this order will directly determine how well Salt Lake County weathers this outbreak.”