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Utah COVID-19 Restrictions as they Impact Employers
March 30, 2020


All articles in this COVID-19 Response Resource issue are effective as of March 30, 2020.

On March 6, 2020, Governor Gary H. Herbert issued an Executive Order declaring a state of emergency due to COVID-19. Since then, Utah state and local governments have issued several orders and directives regarding the COVID-19 pandemic. It can be difficult for employers to keep track of them all. This article will list Utah state-wide and local orders that may affect employers as of March 30, 2020. Obviously, this changes every day so please stay updated. The current orders are:

State-Wide School Closure
Beginning March 18, all public schools statewide were closed and students are now required to do online schooling. The order initially lasted until March 30 but was later extended to May 1. This affects employers who may be required to provide paid leave to parents with kids at home under new federal statutes. 

State-Wide and Salt Lake County Restaurant and Bar Restrictions
Beginning March 18, the Utah Department of Health, in coordination with the Governor’s Office and Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force, ordered all restaurants, bars, and food service establishments in the state of Utah to suspend dine-in operations for a period of two weeks. The order takes effect, Wednesday, March 18, at 11:59 p.m. During this period, restaurants and other food service entities can continue to offer curbside, drive-thru, pick up, and delivery options.

Beginning March 29, the Salt Lake County Mayor further ordered food services to do the following:

  • Exclude employees with fever, cough or shortness of breath
  • Practice 6-feet of social distancing
  • Prohibit dine-in service
  • Prohibit in-person ordering (drive thru is allowed)
  • Encourage remote payments
  • Clean payment devices between transactions
  • Restrict payment-handling employees from food services

State-Wide Telehealth Order

On March 26, Governor Herbert issued an Executive Order suspending sections of state law that make it difficult for health care providers to provide telehealth care to their patients. The relaxed rules apply so long as the provider notifies the patient that the service does not comply with the state standards and the patient does not decline. For more details you can find the order here: https://drive.google.com/file/d/1sweW_dwK1O868TDKVsaVG3D89Z9694va/view

State-Wide Social Distancing

Beginning March 27, Governor Herbert issued the “Stay Safe Stay Home Directive.” The Directive goes into effect immediately and ends at 11:59 pm on April 13, 2020. Although the document is entitled a “Directive” it is unclear exactly what that means. Although the Directive states that the Governor “expects all Utah residents and businesses to follow these directives,” it does not have any enforcement mechanism. The following may have application to businesses or their employees:

  • Individuals should stay at home as much as possible and work from home whenever possible
  • Individuals should self-quarantine for 14 days after traveling or being exposed to an individual presenting symptoms of illness consistent with COVID-19
  • Individuals should engage in appropriate social distancing including maintaining a 6?foot distance at all times from other individuals in public, not shaking hands, not attending any gathering of any number of people, and should follow strict hygiene standards
  • Individuals 60 or over and individuals with a serious underlying medical condition should limit travel to only essential travel including to perform work if you cannot telework, limit physical interactions with other high-risk individuals, and limit attending gatherings of any number of people
  • Travel should be limited to essential travel. Essential travel includes obtaining supplies required to work from home and the essential operation of businesses. Essential travel also includes travel to perform work if you cannot telework. 

In addition, the Directive includes the following directives specifically applicable to not for profit and for-profit organizations (companies) and are effective at 12:01 a.m. on March 30: 

• Respond in a flexible way to varying levels of disease transmission in the community and refine business response plans as needed.
• Consider how best to decrease the spread of COVID-19 and lower the impact in the workplace. This may include activities in one or more of the following areas:

a. reducing transmission among employees and volunteers;
b. maintaining healthy business operations; and
c. maintaining a healthy work environment.

• Encourage and enable employees and volunteers to telework from home. Only employees or volunteers who perform work that cannot be done from their home should be exempted from teleworking.
• Utilize video conferencing and virtual meeting services.
• Implement policies for employees and volunteers who cannot telework, including:

a. requiring employees and volunteers who present symptoms of illness consistent with COVID-19 to stay home;
b. not requiring a positive COVID-19 test result or health care provider’s note for employees or volunteers who stay home due to illness;
c. enhancing social distancing by grouping employees and volunteers into cohorts of no more than ten individuals that have limited contact with other cohorts in the workplace;
d. enabling employees and volunteers to follow the directives for all individuals, as described above (e.g., by providing hand soap, hand sanitizer, or sanitizing wipes);
e. minimizing face-to-face contact with high-risk employees and volunteers, or assigning work tasks to high-risk employees and volunteers that allow them to maintain a distance of at least six feet from other workers, customers and visitors, or to telework if possible; and
f. implementing flexible work hours (e.g., staggered shifts).

• Assess essential functions and the reliance that others and the community have on services or products offered.

a. Be prepared to change business practices if needed to maintain critical operations (e.g., identify alternative suppliers, prioritize existing customers, or temporarily suspend some of your operations if needed).
b. Identify alternate supply chains for critical goods and services.
c. Coordinate with companies that provide your business with contract or temporary employees or volunteers about the importance of sick employees and volunteers staying home and encourage them to develop non-punitive leave policies.
d. Coordinate with business partners about your response plans. Share best practices with other businesses in your communities (especially those in your supply chain), chambers of commerce, and associations to improve community response efforts.

• Take measures to accommodate high-risk individuals in the workplace.

There are certain businesses exempted from the Directives for For-Profit and Nonprofit Organizations. These directives do not apply to the following:

• Health care professionals.
• Law enforcement officers and first responders.
• Faith leaders and workers, including an official, worker, or leader in a house of worship or other places of religious expression or fellowship, wherever their services may be needed. Faith leaders and workers also include a worker necessary to plan, record, and distribute online or broadcast content to community members.
• Charitable and social services organizations, including workers supporting organizations that provide food, shelter, prescription delivery, mental health and substance abuse treatments, and other social services, as well as other necessities of life for individuals in need of such services, older adults who live alone, people with disabilities, and those who need assistance as a result of this emergency. 

Personal Services and Social Businesses in Salt Lake County

On March 29, 2020, Salt Lake County Major Jenny Wilson issued a Public Health order which requires certain businesses to close, allows other businesses to stay open but to follow required guidelines, and deems some businesses essential but also to follow required guidelines.  Violators can be charged with a class B misdemeanor, punishable by up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine. The Mayor said enforcement will focus on egregious infractions and most people will receive a warning first. Employers should be aware that employees may report violations to authorities. 

Beginning March 29, the Salt Lake County Mayor ordered the following businesses to cease operating until further notice or April 14:

  • Hair, nail and eyelash salons
  • Barber shops
  • Waxing/electrolysis
  • Day spas and estheticians
  • Eyebrow threading
  • Permanent makeup
  • Body art (tattoo/piercing)
  • Massage and tanning
  • Swimming pools
  • Aquariums, zoos, aviaries, and museums
  • Playgrounds and recreation centers
  • Arcades, bowling alleys, and movie theaters
  • Gym and fitness centers
  • Theaters and performance venues
  • Indoor play centers
  • Social clubs

Beginning March 29, the Salt Lake County Mayor designated the following businesses essential but ordered restrictions in how they do business.  These are the essential businesses:

  • Grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores and gas stations
  • Automotive and bicycle supply, repair and sales
  • Pet supply and veterinary services
  • Food pantries
  • Food and beverage production
  • Religious institutions and charitable and social services
  • Childcare centers
  • Insurance and financial service providers
  • Hardware and supplies providers
  • Critical construction trades
  • Mail, shipping and delivery
  • Laundromats and dry cleaners
  • Home-based care providers
  • Legal, accounting, real estate
  • Hotels and motels
  • Higher education
  • Transportation, utilities, and other essential infrastructure
  • Media and essential government functions
  • Any business or worker included among the US. Department of Homeland Security’s critical infrastructure sectors

Even though these businesses are deemed “essential” and may remain functioning, these businesses must do the following:

  • Exclude employees with fever, cough, or shortness of breath and should practice 6 feet of social distancing as much as possible

Salt Lake City
In response to the State of Utah’s Stay Home, Stay Safe directive, Salt Lake City issued a Proclamation on March 27, 2020 that incorporated the State’s directive and made it mandatory, enacted provisions specific to City business, and provided that a violation was classified as a Class B misdemeanor. However, the City repealed its initial Proclamation on March 29, after Salt Lake County issued an Order for the entire County (see above). The City issued another Proclamation on March 29, addressing only the provisions specific to City business, including restrictions on pedestrian access to Public Areas of the Salt Lake City Airport. The Proclamation is effective as long as there the local emergency, declared on Mach 10, 2020, in the City.

Summit County Stay at Home Order
Beginning March 27, Summit County ordered its residents to stay home and avoid travel. Essential business and government services may remain open. For a list of essential businesses, go to the Summit County website. The Order is enacted until May 1, but will be reviewed after April 9 and may be ended, extended, or modified. Violations are punishable as a Class B Misdemeanor in Summit County.

Southeast Utah Restrictions
On March 17, the Southeast Utah Health Department issued a Public Health Order that places strict limitations on food establishments, closes movie theaters and other public places, and orders overnight lodging establishments to only accept new reservations for rooms for "essential visitors." This applies to Carbon, Emery, and Grand Counties. An Essential Visitor is any individual renting lodging or camping for an amount of time less than 30 days for the purposes of work within Carbon, Emery, and Grand Counties, or for an employer within the boundaries of Carbon, Emery, and Grand Counties, and their spouse and dependents.”

For more information about this or other related issues, contact Christina Jepson by calling (801) 536-6820 or send an email to cjepson@parsonsbehle.com.