Mayor Jenny Wilson announced Friday that the "stay home" portion of the County health order would be rescinded. Instead of "Stay Safe, Stay Home", the order is now titled "Stay Smart, Stay Safe". All other parts of the health order remain essentially unchanged. Gatherings and certain business operations remain prohibited.
Governor Herbert extended the state's 'soft closure' of public schools and charter schools until the end of the school year. This ends the possibility that students will return to class before traditional summer break. There are some signs of a flattening curve in new infections of COVID-19 in some parts of the country, which may signal the possibility of restarted portions of the economy, although state and national leaders have struck a cautious tone in doing so. Utah has fared much better than most of the nation in terms of infection and death rates.
Today businesses may begin applying for SBA loans made possible by the Federal COVID-19 stimulus bill. Business loan proceeds spent on rent, mortgage interest, payroll and employee health benefits, including paid sick leave, can be forgiven up to two months of operating expenses. The stimulus bill allocates $350 billion for these loans and they will be awarded on a first-come first-serve basis.
Part of the stimulus check from the Federal government is a check for up to $1,200 for individuals, and an additional $500 per qualifying dependent age 16 or younger. If you filed your taxes in 2018 or 2019, you don't have to do anything to receive your payment. If you set up direct deposit for taxes, you should receive your funds by mid-April. All other tax filers will receive a paper check in the mail.
After the Governor and Salt Lake City Mayor issued new orders to curb the spread of COVID-19, Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson issued a similar order closing some business and limiting others. The joint announcement between the mayor's office and the Salt Lake County Health Department orders close contact businesses like spas, hair & nail salons, swimming pools, playgrounds etc to be closed. The order will be reevaluated in 2 weeks.
On Thursday night, Governor Herbert issued a "Stay Safe, Stay Home" directive effective statewide. The Governor's office emphasized, "This is not a shelter in place order," The Governor's office laid out guidelines to help slow the spread of COVID-19.
Shortly after the Governor's order, Salt Lake City mayor Erin Mendenhall issued a 5th emergency order, adding to the existing declarations by the city since March 10th. The city's order closely mirrors the Governor's directive, but adds the possibility of law enforcement ticketing those who are in clear violation of the prohibition on large public gatherings.
President Trump warned against prescribing a “cure that’s worse than the disease” referring to the lock-downs and social distancing measures put in place around the United States. The current measures have wreaked havoc on the economic well-being of the nation as a whole and is likely to shrink economic growth by record numbers and could trigger a long term recession. Unemployment has been forecast to hit record highs should the lock-down remain in place through mid-summer as some officials have suggested.
Slowing the spread of the virus has been the main goal in an attempt to avoid overwhelming healthcare facilities in the face of a more widespread outbreak. Many health officials have said the Easter timeline is too optimistic for the current models.
Governor Herbert extended the "soft closure" of public schools until May 1st. Grab & go lunch options will remain available to students along with on-site tutoring and online learning options made available in recent weeks.
Many grocery chains have limited the quantities per household as well as temporarily shortened store hours to help curb panic buying that began last week. Government officials and President Trump have assured the public that panic buying is not necessary and that interstate supply chains remain strong. The measures have worked for the most part, and local store shelves have begun returning to normal levels for most products.
As long as supply lines remain functional, there is no need to hoard supplies or buy on impulse. Emergency preparedness guidelines often recommend a functional supply of non-perishable food that is integrated into the normal routine for each household.
Restaurants, bars and taverns have been ordered to close all dine-in options but are allowed to continue limited curb-side, drive-through and take-out options. Modifying the Health Departments orders from earlier this week, the current order now prohibits gatherings of greater than 10 people throughout the state of Utah until April 1st. The order may be modified or extended as needed.
Data suggests those at highest risk from the virus are individuals older than 60 and who have pre-existing conditions that reduce their ability to fight disease, such as cancer, diabetes or heart conditions. Individuals with these two risk factors have a much higher risk than would be present from seasonal influenza. They are urged to take precautions to prevent the spread of disease, such as social distancing, sanitizing measures or self-quarantine.
Young people and individuals under the age of 60 are at a much lower risk. Children under the age of 10 appear to have the least risk of death from the disease, although those contracting the virus have reported mild to moderate flu-like symptoms. Although much less common, more severe symptoms have been reported in younger people, some requiring hospitalization.
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