Economic Response Task Force releases blueprint for reopening business in ‘Utah Leads Together 2.0’

Utah Economic Response Task Force Logo 01

As the COVID-19 curve begins to flatten, Utah’s Economic Task Force released a plan for reactivating the economy through a process that is described not as a “switch” but a “dail,” and calls for vigilance, confidence, patience, innovation, and engagement. 

The plan proposes a series of protocols for a color-coded health guidance program, including a seal of approval for businesses trained to comply with health protocols, addressing issues of business liability, continuing engagement with federal relief programs, the management of personal protective equipment, and special provisions for education.

“We’ve had good results so far with lowering our transmission rate and hospitalizations through Utahns following the directive to stay safe, stay home,” said Governor Gary Herbert. “We now anticipate the opportunity at the first of May to begin opening in-house dining, businesses, health clubs, and restart elective surgeries with assurance that we keep space available in case we have a spike in COVID-19 patients. Our goal is to get to recovery at the end of summer, but in order to do so we have to stay with our 2.0 plan and follow the updated public health guidance.”

“When the economic task force was established weeks ago it was with an eye towards getting us back to work,” said Derek Miller, chair of the Economic Response Task Force.  “As the Governor laid out today, the next step to reactivate our economy is outlined in version 2.0 of the Utah Leads Together Plan. The Economic Task Force assembled subject matter experts into working groups from nearly 80 industry associations, as well as local chambers of commerce, the health care community, education community, and businesses of all sizes.”

According to the plan, five principles are necessary for full reactivation of the economy:

  1. Vigilance to minimize economic harm and avoid a resurgence of the virus;

  2. Data-informed judgment that uses key economic and health indicators to guide decision-making;

  3. Respect for geographic differences to allow those areas with low risk to open businesses and related activity accordingly;

  4. Care for the vulnerable; and,

  5. New protocols for safety to accelerate reactivation of the economy through appropriate use of protective equipment.

According to Natalie Gochnour, Director of the Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute and principal author of the 2.0 report, “The leaders of the Economic Task Force do not view this as a flip of the switch but a dial that must be dialed up to meet the challenge and opportunity posed by reactivating the economy in phases across the geographies of our state. The economic phases have a timeframe and the stabilization phase is projected to last months because we cannot predict how the virus will change.” 

Utah Leads Together 2.0 was released by Governor Herbert and the COVID 19 Community Task Force, chaired by Lt. Governor Spencer Cox, at a media conference today on Capitol Hill, followed by a statewide town hall broadcast by the Economic Response Task Force.