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State Orders All Restaurants, Bars To Suspend Dine-In Services

FILE PHOTO (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The Utah Department of Health has issued an order requiring all restaurants, bars and food service establishments in Utah to suspend dine-in operations for two weeks.

The order takes effect Wednesday, March 18, at 11:59 p.m. Restaurants and other establishments can offer curbside, drive-thru, pick up and delivery options.

Salt Lake County closed dine-in operations Monday night while Summit County closed dining rooms on Sunday.

“With the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in our communities, we must take quick action to adjust our daily lives and limit the spread of the virus,” said Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. “We have not made this decision lightly. I know this will disrupt lives and cost jobs, and for that I’m very sorry. Still, I’m convinced this will save many lives, and I’m also convinced that Utahns will step up to help each other and we’ll get through this together.”

Herbert also thanked Utahns who are already looking for ways to support local owners and servers and said the order will be re-evaluated after the two weeks.

“In making these decisions, we still strongly recommend that Utahns buy local, eat local, and support local businesses at this time, in whatever way they can, and within these guidelines. Our local restaurants are great sources of nutritious, secure and delicious meals.”

The order, issued in coordination with the Governor’s Office and Utah COVID-19 Community Task Force, also implements additional precautions for eating establishments, including sanitation measures and screening employees for symptoms of COVID-19.

“The actions taken today are all prudent steps to be taking as we work to limit the spread of COVID-19 in Utah communities,” said Dr. Joseph Miner, executive director of the Utah Department of Health. “It’s becoming more and more clear that one of the most important things we can do as individuals is to practice good social distancing, and this order helps facilitate that across the state.”

Gatherings of more than 10 individuals are also prohibited under the order.

State Task Force Working To Increase COVID-19 Testing

Lt. Governor Spencer J. Cox, who chairs the state’s virus task force, said they have a team working full time to build Utah’s capacity to test for the coronavirus.

“Until we have the ability to test widely and institute targeted isolation procedures, we must take every necessary precaution to limit the spread of the virus,” Cox said. “These preventative measures will help reduce the burden on our medical system, and save lives.”

If a member of a household tests positive for the coronavirus, all members of the household are directed to self-isolate.

Individuals over the age of 60 or those who are immunocompromised are recommended to avoid contact with others under the order, and Utahns should refrain from visiting longterm and nursing care facilities except to provide critical assistance.

The full, formal order can be seen here.


Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

The CDC does not recommend wearing a face mask respirator to protect yourself from coronavirus unless a healthcare professional recommends it.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at consumerprotection@utah.gov.

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