COVID-19 cases are increasing in Utah, but there are still pockets in the state where cases numbers are lower than the average. In mid-June the Governor allowed these rural areas to go into the “green” phase of economic reopening. The “green” phase allows businesses to reopen and residents to gather in larger numbers but with suggested health guidelines such as social distancing of six feet and wearing a mask.
“Green does allow for a lot of economic activity, which is very welcomed,” said Vernal City Manager Quinn Bennion. “We need every small business to succeed and get back to work and employ people.”
Bennion also says that while it’s great to see the economy doing well, people seem to interpret “green” differently.
“I would say a lot of our residents think green status translates back to ‘we're back to normal, everything's fine,’” Bennion said. “So there's been some education and I know TriCounty Health is doing a lot of work to educate the public, businesses and residents that green doesn't mean back to normal.”
The “green” phase may be called “the new normal,” but the “new normal” doesn’t mean “back to normal.”
“Green is not saying that there is no pandemic and there is no risk of COVID-19,” said Liberty Best, the Public Information Officer at TriCounty Health, the health department overseeing Duschene, Uintah and Daggett counties.
“It is saying, you know, we are opening the economy. We are letting businesses open. We are not going to restrict businesses. In fact, it actually means that the risk is higher because things are opening up, events are going on. So taking precaution is a great way to stay healthy.”
Cases in the Tri-County area are up slightly since moving to green in June. The TriCounty Board of Health will meet on July 22nd to review the “green” phase and evaluate next steps.