Utah Restaurants Launch Web Site During Dining Shutdown
COTTONWOOD HEIGHTS, Utah – Restaurants in Utah have banded together to spread the word that they are still offering take-out meals, even while in-person dining in prohibited because of the coronavirus pandemic.
The new website, called SupportUtahDining.com, was designed to help residents find and order food that can be picked up curbside. The goal is to keep restaurants open, and providing paychecks to employees, as well as offering food to the community.
“To-go and curbside orders are a lifeline for our restaurants,” said a statement from, Fred Boutwell, director of operations for Market Street Grill. “Thousands of people rely on income from the restaurant business and we want to minimize the impact that this shutdown will have our employees and our customers as well as keep Salt Lake’s economy chugging along.”
"What are they going to do?"
"How are they going to pay their rent?"
"How are they going to buy food?"
Restaurants are trying to protect empoyees' paychecks.
— Ladd Egan (@laddegan) March 17, 2020
The organized effort came as officials ordered all restaurants, bars and other food establishments to suspend dine-in operations for two weeks. The ban takes effect, Wednesday, March 18, at 11:59 p.m.
The order from the Utah Department of Health and the Governor’s Office said that restaurants can continue to offer curbside, drive-thru and delivery service.
“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,” Gov. Herbert said in a statement. “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.”
Earlier in the day, the health department serving Carbon, Emery and Grand Counties issued a similar public health order, with strict instructions about social distancing and cleansing measures to be used for curbside service.
The @UtahDepOfHealth has issued an order requiring all restaurants, bars and food service establishments in Utah to suspend dine-in operations for two weeks.
— KSL 5 TV (@KSL5TV) March 18, 2020
“Cash payments are strongly discouraged,” said the Southeast Utah Health Department. “Staff who take cash or credit card payments shall use cleansing measures between each transaction.”
The order goes on to say that electronic or telephone payments are “highly encouraged,” and that any restaurant employees who handle cash or credit card payments should not be involved in the “preparation, handling, or delivery of food.”
Also, food delivery employees must use “drop service,” and avoid any contact with customers.
After the new website was launched on Tuesday, Market Street Grill reported dozens of orders at its three locations.
“We’re all in this together. We really, truly are,” Boutwell told KSL. “I passed a lot of restaurants that have just shuttered, which is unfortunate.”
At the Cottonwood Heights location, customers pulled to the front of the restaurant, as workers wearing gloves delivered the packaged meals through the car windows.
“We ask that they pay online. We’re taking no cash,” Boutwell said.
“We are still going to be customers whether they’re open or not,” said Sandy resident LeeAnn Meads.
Meads brought her 89-year-old father to pick up lunch. He can’t prepare meals on his own, so they appreciated the curbside option.
“After just watching how careful they were in bringing things out, I would say, ‘Go for it,’” Meads said about recommending the service to others. “There were no transactions. We used our card over the phone. It was all ready to go when we pulled up, and they just handed us the packages.”
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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.
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 email@example.com.
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