CORONAVIRUS

Business Leaders Say Change To Green Could Come In June

May 26, 2020, 8:22 PM | Updated: May 27, 2020, 8:33 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Not even two weeks into the yellow “low-risk” level, a state official said the latest data on coronavirus cases is moving in the right direction for Utah to transition to the “new normal” level as early as June.

“We’re headed towards green because the data tells us that Utahns by and large are being responsible,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and the chair of Utah’s COVID-19 Economic Response Task Force. “Moving from yellow to green is probably more of a step than when we moved from orange to yellow because green tells us we’re getting to that new normal.”

Miller said when considering the change in phases, the state task force looks at the transmission rate, the state’s testing capacity and the number of hospitalizations. He said those indicators are moving in the right direction, noting that last week, “for the first time since the pandemic started, we actually had more people return to work than file new unemployment claims.”

“If Utahns continue to do well – like I said I’m confident they will – I would expect that sometime in June we’ll be talking seriously about taking that next step,” he said, adding that he expected the state to make the move by the end of June.

The change would be welcome news for businesses in the hospitality and tourism industries.

“I think that it helps in that it makes it easier for businesses to operate,” said Cody Adent, executive director of the Utah Tourism Industry Association. “The hard part about the tourism industry, especially for hotels, is that once a day has come and gone the opportunity can never be returned.”

In a survey of 489 of Utah’s hospitality and tourism businesses, Adent says 51% reported a drop in revenue in March, and 53% said they didn’t have enough cash on hand to make it 60 days on their own.

“Where we’re so deep into the season it doesn’t seem feasible that anyone will be able to recoup anything this year,” he said. “You’re just trying not to lose as much as possible.”

Tourism has picked up since Governor Gary Herbert lifted the restrictions on state parks, especially in southern Utah, and Adent believes the state is in a better situation than most to get back to normal.

“I think with people’s concern over highly populated areas – that Utah is positioned really well to rebound because I think what people want to do now is get outdoors and be outside and have that space. And there’s not a better state in the United States to go to have an experience like that than Utah with our five national parks.” 

A move to the “Green” phase would only help local shops around those parks recover.

“The itch to get out and explore still exists. I think they’re just waiting for the consumer confidence to feel like it’s appropriate,” Adent said. 

Miller agrees. “It’s one thing for a business to be able to open its doors it’s another thing for a consumer to walk through those doors. So, at the same time we’re helping businesses reopen, we also need to be increasing consumer confidence,” Miller said.

“Every business really needs to come up with its own plan. Take those guidelines. Take those best practices and figure out how to make that work for your own business.”

Regarding a potential change in the state’s risk level, Utah Department of Health (UDOH) acting executive director Gen. Jefferson Burton said earlier this month, “Decisions about risk status for counties and municipalities are always made using the most current data, and in consultation with local public health officers.”

“These discussions always begin with an overview of the health data, and also take into account the local economic and governmental considerations of each individual county,” he said.

Decisions on which counties are placed in which risk phase are based on the totality of these discussions.

Conversations are ongoing, and county and city risk factors will be re-evaluated utilizing the same process over the coming weeks and months.”

KSL 5 TV Live

Coronavirus

FILE: Former Utah Jazz John Stockton reacts during a 76-70 Wichita State win over the Gonzaga Bulld...

Michael Houck

Former Utah Jazz star John Stockton sues Washington medical director about COVID misinformation policy

Former Utah Jazz superstar John Stockton has filed a federal lawsuit against Washington officials on First Amendment violations, arguing the state's policy of COVID-19 misinformation is unconstitutional.

1 month ago

Deer Creek Reservoir...

Alex Cabrero

State parks expecting another record visitation year, hiring more workers

It didn't matter how cold or snowy it was at Deer Creek State Park Friday afternoon. Nothing was going to stop Leonard Sawyer from taking his boat out to do a little fishing.

2 months ago

FILE —  Respiratory virus illness activity continues to increase across the US.
(Joe Burbank/Orl...

Emma Benson

‘Not viruses to mess around with’: Experts urge caution during ongoing ‘tripledemic’

Experts say though not as severe as last year, this winter we're seeing another "tripledemic" – rising cases of COVID-19, flu and RSV in Utah.

3 months ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Emma Benson

‘The ICUs are full:’ Keep yourself and others healthy this holiday

It's time for holiday gatherings, but with more people around us comes a greater risk of getting sick.

4 months ago

Julianna Preece goes through the mountain of medical documents she's acquired for her health condit...

Lauren Steinbrecher

Herriman couple is suing CVS, says 5x Covid vaccine dose mistake caused health problems

A couple is suing a Utah CVS vaccination clinic, saying a nurse’s mistake led to the wife receiving five times the normal COVID-19 vaccine dose and caused serious health issues she’s still dealing with today.

4 months ago

FILE - COVID-19 antigen home tests. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison, File)Credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS...

Associated Press

More free COVID-19 tests from the government are available for home delivery through the mail

Americans can order more free COVID-19 tests online for home delivery.

5 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Women hold card for scanning key card to access Photocopier Security system concept...

Les Olson

Why Printer Security Should Be Top of Mind for Your Business

Connected printers have vulnerable endpoints that are an easy target for cyber thieves. Protect your business with these tips.

Modern chandelier hanging from a white slanted ceiling with windows in the backgruond...

Lighting Design

Light Up Your Home With These Top Lighting Trends for 2024

Check out the latest lighting design trends for 2024 and tips on how you can incorporate them into your home.

Technician woman fixing hardware of desktop computer. Close up....

PC Laptops

Tips for Hassle-Free Computer Repairs

Experiencing a glitch in your computer can be frustrating, but with these tips you can have your computer repaired without the stress.

Close up of finger on keyboard button with number 11 logo...

PC Laptops

7 Reasons Why You Should Upgrade Your Laptop to Windows 11

Explore the benefits of upgrading to Windows 11 for a smoother, more secure, and feature-packed computing experience.

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Business Leaders Say Change To Green Could Come In June