Governor Gary R. Herbert released “Utah Leads Together,” his comprehensive task force plan to mitigate the economic consequences of Covid-19 and return Utah to the record-setting growth it enjoyed prior to the pandemic. The report and economic playbook include recommendations from dozens of state and industry leaders throughout Utah.
“Our highest priority is the health and welfare of Utahns,” said Governor Herbert in making the report public. “We must protect against the devastating health effects of Covid-19 and provide the best care possible to those who contract the virus. At the same time we must protect and provide concrete practices and policies to those impacted by the economic consequences the virus has created. And that includes everyone.”
Governor Herbert appointed Salt Lake Chamber president and CEO Derek Miller to chair the Utah Economic Response Task Force, which in turn brought together business, government and community leaders throughout the state to create the “Utah Leads Together” economic recovery plan, which outlines three phases as part of the process:
- Urgent Phase: A coordinated public health response coupled with historic economic stimulus from federal, state and local governments. The estimated duration is tentatively estimated to be eight to 12 weeks with the measure of challenge being job losses.
- Stabilization Phase: Public health measures and economic interventions begin to take effect. The estimated time frame is 14 weeks and the primary measure is job stabilization.
- Recovery Phase: Return to stability and positive job growth. This phase relies on successes in the prior phases and is estimated at eight to ten weeks in duration.
“Utah Leads Together” offers programs and policies that bring together public health initiatives, financial support through federal and private engagement, and access to best practices to shorten, to the extent possible, the adverse economic consequences of the pandemic.
“The Governor’s Economic Response Plan is the product of some of the most capable minds throughout our state,” said Miller. “I have been overwhelmed by the show of support from Utahns who have come together to contribute to this initiative. We cannot let this virus dampen our culture of cooperation or the business climate by creating a culture of paralysis and fear. As we collectively lead together we can help people maintain their economic stability in society, by making payroll and maintaining jobs and a spirit of unity throughout this challenge.”
Governor Herbert said the report highlights the need to protect the “hive mentality” – the spirit of industry and cooperation – that define Utah as the Beehive State. “This means working together and following the current social distancing guidelines set forth by public health experts during this urgent phase,” the Governor said. “If you are a business owner or an employee seeking certainty in these uncertain times, you can refer to this guidance from the best minds in the state about how to remain economically engaged, even while supporting our urgent response to the coronavirus.
According to the report local support is critical to the service industry as it is one of the hardest hit due to the coronavirus. Many stores are offering Senior and Immunocompromised store hours to help the vulnerable population. Scientists at the University of Utah were awarded a national grant to study how environmental conditions may affect the virus. This will be important as hopes of a summer thaw on virus spread is yet to be determined. And during the press conference, the Governor announced a dramatic increase in testing for Covid-19. “We have capacity to run 2,625 tests per day in Utah,” the Governor said. “Two thousand of these tests are run through ARUP, 500 are run through Intermountain Healthcare, and 125 through our state public health laboratory.”
Miller said, “As our knowledge of the virus expands we will adapt to its risks and through innovation we will overcome its challenges. The history of Utah shows that we are at our best when facing adversity. We are the beneficiaries of a legacy that turned a barren desert into the most powerful state economy in America. It’s part of our history, it's part of our heritage and it is in our DNA. And I am confident we can turn this setback into an economic comeback!”
The plan and specific best practices for industries, businesses and individuals can be found at coronavirus.utah.gov