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0000017b-652b-d50a-a3ff-f7efb02e0000KPCW's COVID-19 news coverage for Summit County and Wasatch County, Utah. 0000017b-652b-d50a-a3ff-f7efb02f0000You can also visit the Utah Department of Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization websites for additional information.

Utah Crafts Framework For Economic Recovery During Months Of COVID-19 Impacts


State political and economic leaders this week announced a plan to set the economy on a path for recovery as residents, business owners and employees weather the impacts of COVID-19.

The plan is called Utah Leads Together. It’s an economic plan that also had input from health officials. Utah Gov. Gary Herbetrt says this is a uniquely challenging time.

“Stopping the spread of this virus and economic development of the state of Utah are tied together,” Herbert said. “We need to get them both right, so we protect the health of the people and have the economy start to recover.”

There are three phases of the Utah Leads Together plan. The first is the urgent phase, which began March 16 and is expected to last for eight to 12 weeks. Its purpose is to slow the spread of COVID-19 through public health measures like physical distancing and ramped-up testing. Natalie Gochnour, executive director of the University of Utah’s Kem C. Gardner Policy Institute, says the state’s economic players agree adhering to health guidelines is the most important step toward economic recovery.

“We have an opportunity over the next several weeks to get on top of this problem and get out of what we would call an urgent phase,” Gochnour said. “But it takes incredible vigilance, and people have to step up and do the right thing.”

The stabilization phase follows the urgent phase and would last 10 to 14 weeks. This is where state experts expect both COVID-19 transmission rates and job loss to slow. Public health measures remain about the same, with physical distancing and testing continuing, but this is the period when the state expects tangible effects from federal aid to kick in.

Last is the recovery phase, which is expected to last eight to 10 weeks. This is when job growth is expected to occur, and the transmission rate of the virus nears zero. This phase includes the resurgence of tourism and other industries heavily impacted by the pandemic and could look like restaurants providing dine-in service – while following safe distancing practices.

Even under the best-case scenario in the plan, Utah likely will experience the impacts of COVID-19 through Labor Day. The current worst-case scenario projections last until Thanksgiving.

Emily Means hadn’t intended to be a journalist, but after two years of studying chemistry at the University of Utah, she found her fit in the school’s communication program. Diving headfirst into student media opportunities, Means worked as a host, producer and programming director for K-UTE Radio as well as a news writer and copy editor at The Daily Utah Chronicle.
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