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Salt Lake, Davis Counties Move To Moderate Transmission; Some Restrictions Lifted

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Both Salt Lake and Davis counties confirmed they are moving from the High to the Moderate level of COVID-19 transmission.

The changes were announced on highway signs Thursday, which inform drivers of transmission levels from county to county.

Gov. Spencer Cox during his weekly COVID-19 update announced 11 counties are currently in the High transmission rate, 13 counties are in the Moderate transmission rate, and five are in the Low transmission rate.

In addition to Salt Lake and Davis counties, the governor announced Cache, Grant, Sanpete and Wasatch counties have also moved to the Moderate level.

“Some of those counties have been high transmission areas since we started using the Transmission Index,” Cox said, adding that the progress is “incredible” considering 2.2 million Utahns now live in Moderate transmission counties.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall weighed in on Twitter following the news.

“Today’s announcements are encourage & reflect how far we’ve come in our work to diminish this virus,” she tweeted. “We’ve seen a tremendous decline in cases. With increased vaccination rollout & targeted focus on hardest-hit communities, our metrics now show the data we need to see to shift.”

The move will affect some restrictions in those counties, mostly involving public gatherings.

“In moderate, there are no restrictions on gatherings,” Cox said, referring to the number of people who are allowed in a space for an event.

According to the Utah Department of Health, people at live events, movie theaters, sporting events, weddings and other public gatherings will no longer have to have 6 feet of distance between parties.

However, masks will still be required at these events.

If attendees are eating or drinking, then the 6-foot rule will still be enforced.

Moving from High to Moderate also affects workout gyms. Patrons will no longer be required to have 6 feet of distance between parties, though health officials still recommend it.

In bars and restaurants, masks are required when patrons are within 6 feet of anyone outside their party, and masks are required unless actively eating or drinking. Customers must also remain in one place when consuming food or beverages.

Starting Thursday, the Hale Centre Theatre allowed side-by-side seating.

“The changes that are being made is that we’re moving from 25% capacity to full capacity,” said Quinn Dietlein with the Hale Centre Theatre. “Oftentimes called shoulder to shoulder or side by side. The safety mechanism that’s put in there is that we’ll all be wearing masks.”

The theater started removing the plastic wrap that’s been covering rows of seating and said the actors can’t wait to have more people in the audience.

“Theater is a two-way street,” Dietlein said. “So when you have the people there and you have the actors, then the math works and it feels right. so really, really excited.”

“So excited,” said Rachelle Valdez, Club 90 owner. “This is the best news ever for what’s going on right now. we can open at full capacity now and we’ll continue to wear the masks.”

Some bars and restaurants in those counties are also celebrating Thursday, learning that tables no longer have to be 6 feet apart. At Club 90 in Sandy, they hope it means more revenue.

“We were operating at 50% capacity, so you can imagine … this means a lot to us for our bottom line,” Valdez said.

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