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Salt Lake City shifts to the yellow phase on Friday, mayor says

FILE PHOTO: SLC Mayor Erin Mendenhall announced Wednesday she would be lifting her week-long curfew, nearly five days before its original end date. (Credit: Scott G Winterton, Deseret News)

SALT LAKE CITY– Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall says the city will shift to the yellow restriction phase of the state’s COVID-19 guidelines on Friday, September 4. 

In a press release Wednesday, Mayor Mendenhall said the shift to yellow comes after a month of citywide downward trends in COVID-19 data. A month of stabilization in coronavirus data goes beyond the 14-day recommendation from the state and CDC. 

Salt Lake City goes yellow

“We are seeing very good data for Salt Lake City and after over 30 days of citywide trend progress we are ready to take this next step,” Mendenhall said. “As our residents move from neighborhood to neighborhood and city to city, there is limited public health benefit to remaining the only orange jurisdiction. The key for us now is in continued social distancing, wearing masks, and continuing to practice handwashing and other sanitary measures.”

Utah Department of Health (UDOH) Interim Executive Director Rich Saunders said he supports the Salt Lake City move to yellow despite fluctuation in statewide data. 

“We analyze data on a weekly basis, and the data in Salt Lake City over the past 14 days certainly support the city moving to the ‘yellow’ restriction level,” explained Saunders. “While we sometimes will see increases and decreases in the daily or weekly numbers over the course of this pandemic, it’s key to look at the overall trends and ensure we remain headed in the right direction.” 

The COVID-19 fight continues

While case stabilization has occurred since July 13, especially in Salt Lake’s most impacted areas, state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn says the city’s fight against COVID-19 isn’t over. 

“It’s important to remember there are communities in the city that are still experiencing an increased burden of COVID-19,” explained Dr. Dunn. “We will continue to work with those community leaders to decrease barriers to testing and to promote behaviors that will reduce the spread of COVID-19.” 

Additionally, the statement attributes the decrease in data to the mask mandate that took effect in June. 

Mendenhall says even though the city is heading into the yellow phase, the mask mandate is still in place. 

“Shifting to yellow is not a return to normal. Masks are still required and are critical. We are still asking you to maintain 6 feet of distance from others. We must maintain concerted efforts to sanitize and wash our hands. And high-risk individuals still must take additional steps to keep themselves safe,” Mayor Mendenhall added. 

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus spreads person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A 

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States