COVID-19 Update: Utah Lowers its COVID Risk Level to “Yellow”

Legal Alert

In an effort to reopen Utah business and reactivate economic activity, Governor Gary Herbert announced this week that most of Utah will move to a reduced risk level of response to the COVID-19 pandemic on Saturday, May 16. Under state guidelines, most areas will change from the “orange,” or moderate risk level, to the “yellow,” or low risk level, on Saturday. Two large Salt Lake County cities (Salt Lake City and West Valley City) will stay at the orange risk level, as will Summit, Wasatch, and Grand counties.

Under the lower yellow risk level, Utah schools may open in the fall “under the direction of the Utah State Board of Education, but [must] follow distancing guidelines with increased cleaning and hygiene regimen.” The guidelines mean that all Utah businesses may open, but employers must still take “reasonable precautions” against the possible transmission of disease. In general, employers should still encourage work-from-home arrangements and consider flexible or staggered scheduling. Employers must still adapt workspaces and practices to allow for social distancing and enhanced hygiene and cleaning protocols. The guidelines also direct employers to check employees for symptoms, and provide face coverings to be worn in situations where social distancing is “difficult to maintain.” With respect to employees at “high risk” (those over 65 or with underlying medical conditions), employers must still make enhanced accommodations to protect them in the workplace.

Utah has more particularized guidelines for a number of specific industries. The yellow phase guidelines for employers can be found here. If you have specific questions about the Utah change in risk level or compliance with the state guidelines, contact your Stoel Rives employment counsel.

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