Report from the Senate

Ralph Okerlund, Senator

I hope you’ve all enjoyed the sunshine and warmer temperatures this week. In addition to the beautiful weather this week, I’m encouraged that as a state we’ve taken important steps forward to slowly begin returning to life as normal.

The Utah Department of Health reported 124,661 COVID-19 tests administered, 5,317 positive tests, 441 hospitalizations and 50 fatalities Monday.

Last week, in conjunction with the Utah Department of Health and the Public Health and Economic Emergency Commission, Gov. Gary Herbert announced Utah’s plan to transition from a high-risk “urgent” phase to the moderate “stabilization” phase of the Utah Leads Together 2.0 plan beginning Friday. 

This new phase will allow the reopening of personal care facilities, like gyms and salons, and reestablish in-house dining in restaurants providing they follow required precautions. This reopening is exciting, but does not represent a complete return to business as usual. We will venture into this new phase while incorporating important public health precautions. This is a slow change, but it is certainly a step in a positive direction. In addition to businesses reopening, individuals and families in good health will be able to interact in groups of up to 20 people.

The Public Health and Economic Emergency Commission has specific recommended guidelines for individuals and businesses for how the state can safely transition to the stabilization phase.

 It is exciting to move forward with these changes, but citizens are strongly encouraged to maintain social distancing, wear a mask and stay home when sick. For those who do not currently have access to a mask, the state has partnered with the Utah Manufacturers Association to provide two million masks to Utahns. These masks are federally funded with money received through the CARES act. There is a limit of one mask per person and six per household. If you do not already have a mask, you may request one at coronavirus.utah.gov/mask. 

I’m grateful for the opportunity you’ve given me to serve in this capacity. Thank you for all you do to make Utah the best state in the nation – and thanks for paying attention.

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