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‘Stay safe, stay home’: What do new movement restrictions mean for Utahns?

Sandra Marsh, left, Lori Komlos and Nancy Fillat practice social distancing as they hike the Bonneville Shoreline Trail in Salt Lake City on Friday, March 27, 2020.
Laura Seitz, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert issued a directive Friday to further restrict Utahns’ movements in the community in hopes of slowing the spread of COVID-19, but it falls short of a stay-at-home or shelter-in-place order.

The governor is calling it “stay safe, stay home” and it begins immediately for residents. It starts Monday for businesses. The directive will be in place through April 13. The four-page document emphasizes many restrictions and safety measures already in place.

Basically, Utahns are being told to further limit their movements as much as possible. That means refraining from gatherings outside the home and not interacting with friends and family unless it’s urgent. Visiting at-risk populations, such as people in care centers, is out. The directive defines high-risk as people over 60 and those with serious underlying medical conditions.

The directive restricts recreational travel, visiting people in hospitals and playing on public playgrounds. Arranging in-person play dates for children is not advised. Leisurely drives are allowed.

Infographic by Alex Cochran

It also means working from home wherever and whenever possible. For people who do go to work, businesses are being advised to check employees’ health as they come in, whether that be by asking questions or taking temperatures.

The directive does not preclude shopping for goods and services, curbside pickup from restaurants and going to medical appointments. Outdoor recreation — such as walking, jogging, hiking, biking, hunting and fishing — also isn’t being restricted, though social distancing of at least 6 feet is a must.

Essential travel also includes relocating from an unsafe situation, caring for a family member, driving children to parent time or visitation schedules, taking pets to the veterinarian, seeking emergency services and donating blood.

Police will not make house checks or stop people to enforce the directive, though they might approach large gatherings.

The directive establishes minimum statewide standards. Local health departments may impose more stringent orders and measures to address unique situations in different areas, after consultation with and consent from the state.

Health care professionals, police officers, first responders, faith leaders and charitable and social services organizations are exempt from the directive.

The directive also restricts entry at Salt Lake City International Airport to ticketed passengers only. If a ticketed passenger needs assistance, they may be accompanied by just one person. Anyone without a ticket who is coming to the airport to pick up or drop off a passenger must remain in their vehicle.

Other recommendations in the directive include:

  • Encourage socializing by phone or video chat.
  • Regularly clean surfaces such as doorknobs, counters, light switches and buttons.
  • Do not congregate at trailheads or outdoor spaces.
  • Exercise outside while maintaining a 6-foot distance from others and without touching common surfaces.
  • Do not engage in close-contact or team sports.
  • Do not participate in activities in state parks outside the county in which you reside.
  • Use video conferencing and other virtual meeting services.