Like many states, Utah has begun considering how and when it can return its economy back to more normal activity. On April 17, 2020, Governor Gary Herbert issued his Utah Leads Together Plan, version 2.0 (“Plan 2.0”). This plan was partly in response to legislation passed in a special session of the Utah State Legislature, presumably impatient with Governor Herbert’s earlier Stay Home, Stay Safe Directive, which closed schools, encouraged teleworking and restricted the activities of many Utah businesses, like restaurants, fitness centers and hair salons. The legislation created a commission (the “Commission”) to address the scope and authority of public health orders issued by various state and local public health authorities. On April 22, the Commission issued recommendation that the Governor lower the perceived risk level and allow certain businesses to reopen under certain health guidelines. Although the specifics of the Commission’s recommendations are not clear, they generally appear to follow the timeline and guidelines in Plan 2.0.
Governor Herbert’s Plan 2.0 follows the phasing set out in his original Utah Leads Together Plan, with “Urgent,” “Stabilization” and “Recovery” phases. Of most interest to Utah employers, Plan 2.0 identifies data upon which the move from one phase to another will be based, and provides workplace health and safety recommendations for different industries and varying phases of public health risk. An overview of recommendations for various industries is here. For example, Utah is currently High Risk statewide and, consequently, there is no dine-in restaurant service, but as the public health risk lowers throughout the state to a moderate level, dine-in service may be permitted with extreme precaution and strict social distancing measures, before eventually reopening under normal safety precautions when the public health risk is normal.
Plan 2.0 also contains an appendix with general employer guidelines (here). These guidelines contain best practices for implementation of policies and measures to provide for emergency planning, social distancing, workplace cleanliness and hygiene, and symptom monitoring.
The recommendations and guidelines contained in Plan 2.0 will require Utah employers to undertake a broad review of their employment policies. Employers will have to carefully consider whether existing policies should be modified and what new policies should be adopted. The policies will cover a range of areas from remote work, leave, emergency planning, customer interactions, business travel, workplace health and safety and employee health monitoring. Contact your Stoel Rives employment counsel for assistance creating and modifying policies as appropriate.