City of St. George prepares to reopen under new state directives

St. George City Hall, St. George, Utah, June 20, 2019 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — Now that Utah has decided to drop its COVID-19 risk status from orange (moderate) to yellow (low) on Saturday, local counties and municipalities are preparing to follow the new state guidelines.

The guidelines under the low-risk phase include the green light for businesses to reopen and people can gather in groups of 50 or fewer while still maintaining social distancing protocols.

The shift in risk status was welcome news to St. George Mayor Jon Pike who echos Gov. Gary Herbert’s cautious approach to slowly getting back to business as usual in Utah.

With some city facilities currently open on a limited basis, a tentative schedule for complete openings based on the new guidelines is set for May 26; however, residents are urged to use online access and drive-up services for city business when possible.

City officials also ask visitors to city facilities to call St. George City Hall to inquire about hours, availability and access.

St. George Mayor Jon Pike speaks with St. George News at City Hall, St. George, Utah, July 8, 2019 | Photo by Frank Forza, St. George News

Although the guidelines will be relaxed, Pike said he would like to see the community keep taking necessary precautions to ensure everyone remains safe.

“I would counsel everyone to follow the state’s updates,” Pike said.

Along with state directives, residents can visit the Southwest Utah Public Health Department for more information.

“This will be who we will be working closely with as we go forward to try to be partners in sharing information,” Pike said. “We want the public and businesses to be as well-educated as possible to control COVID-19 and reengage our economy.”

Based on the governor’s move to reduce the risk level, businesses now have the leeway to choose to open under the restrictions outlined or remain closed and maintain more restrictive access if desired, Pike added.

“I think going from 20 to 50 people will help a lot of businesses,” he said. “But, even under yellow risk … the guidelines still say you have to take precautions to maintain social distancing, wearing masks, hand washing and sanitization. We want everyone to take these precautions to keep the low transmission and hospitalization rates we’ve had.”

Though the state has lowered its risk level, if there is a spike in COVID-19 cases, Pike said he will follow any future directives issued by the Utah or Southern Utah health departments.

Copyright St. George News, LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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