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BioUtah’s Summary of Governor’s Economic Response Plan

March 25, 2020 in BioUtah COVID-19 Analysis Feature State News by Kelvyn Cullimore

On Tuesday afternoon, March 24, 2020, Governor Herbert unveiled an economic response plan to the coronavirus CoronaVirus for Utah. It is intended to provide some guidance during these times of uncertainty. Recognizing that nobody has a crystal ball, this plan is dynamic in nature and could change. The plan has three phases. Dates shown assume longest period for each phase.

  • Urgent Phase – 8-12 weeks from March 16th to approximately June 6th.
    • This phase involves a coordinated public health response, large-scale testing, and a historic state economic stimulus. We adapt and we innovate. Adherence to this phase will shorten other phases and accelerate economic recovery.
  • Stabilization Phase – 10– 14 weeks following end of the Urgent Phase, June 6th to Sep 12th
    • The objectives are to make sure there is no backtracking on the progress made during the urgent phase, provide promising medical treatments, and continue to lay the groundwork for a complete economic recovery.
  • Recovery Phase – 8-10 weeks following end of the Stabilization Phase, Sep 12th to Nov 21st
    •  The objectives are to provide promising medical treatments and continue the hard work of restoring economic confidence.

This plan forecasts a 26 to 32-week course for addressing the coronavirus impacts without involving a state shutdown as has now been done in over a dozen states. This plan specifically seeks to avoid the need for a shutdown if the principles outlined in the plan are adhered to voluntarily.

The Governor makes this statement at the beginning of the document:

We have entered a critical and urgent phase. If we follow public health guidelines we have a chance to get on the path to recovery more quickly. If we don’t, we face a longer and more painful recovery. I encourage Utahns to rigorously follow public health measures, while staying as economically engaged as possible. By doing so, we will save jobs and alleviate suffering.

URGENT PHASE

Goal: Significantly reduce the community spread as measured by achieving a person-to-person transmission rate of 1:1 within 30 days.

Guiding Principles:

  • Maintain aggressive social distancing measures
  • Protect hospital capacity
  • Increase and deploy testing capacity
  • Restricted travel including reducing risk of those entering the state
  • Maintain supply of essential medical items (i.e., PPE)
  • Leverage medical advancements (utilize breakthroughs or discoveries like Chloroquine as a defense against respiratory symptoms)
  • The Utah economy Is open and operating in compliance with specific public health practices.
  • Telework continues to be strongly encouraged where possible.
  • Group gathering limitations to 10 persons
  • Educational disruptions at all levels
  • Aggressive monetary policy at both state and federal levels to alleviate burden imposed on certain businesses and industry
  • Use of rainy day funds at the state level

Adherence to these principles including exercising extreme caution in the workplace and in societal interactions, limiting travel even within the state, and self-quarantining at the first indication of symptoms or exposure will help accelerate the completion of this phase.

STABILIZATION PHASE

Goal: Public health measures and economic interventions begin to take hold as evidenced by further slowing of the spread of COVID-19 and slowing of job losses.

Guiding Principles:

  • Broad base testing continues
  • Telework continues
  • Social distancing continues but on a more targeted basis
  • Group gathering limitations softened
  • Travel restrictions lessened
  • Expand as appropriate business operations and economic functions
  • Review limitations on restaurant dining in
  • Furloughs and layoffs curtailed
  • Flexible regulatory processes encourage recovery
  • Impact of monetary policy begins to take hold

In general, during this phase the expectation is that diminishment in the community spread of the virus will result in the ability to lessen restrictions. The slowing will also diminish economic impacts, which will also be shored up, but monetary policy introduced in the urgent phase and implemented more fully in the stabilization phase.

RECOVERY PHASE

Goal: Virus under control and return to positive economic growth.

Guiding Principles:

  • Testing becomes more mainstream
  • New practices implemented as a result of response to coronavirus
    •  More telework
    •  Better public and workplace hygiene
    • Social distancing continues on a more modified basis
  • Travel restrictions lifted
  • Group gathering limitations eased – dining in more spaced
  • Sports and entertainment events restart
  • Highly impacted industries begin to recover
  • Lay-offs related to COVID-19 end and re-hiring begins
  • Monetary policy begins to normalize
  • Markets stabilize and become more predictable

During this phase the expectation is that we return to a new normal influenced by lessons learned during the response to the crisis.

Business Operation Guidelines

General Guidance

• Require employees showing any signs of illness to stay home
• Support paid time off for sick employees. This will help ensure employees who are symptomatic do not report to work
• Provide flexible scheduling for employees who may be struggling with child care, or caring for elderly parents
• Encourage employees to work remotely when possible and focus on core business activities. In-person, non-mandatory activities should be delayed until the resumption of normal operations
• Organizations should implement their business continuity and pandemic plans, or put plans in place if they do not exist
• Clean and sanitize work spaces and equipment frequently including phones, desks, remote controls, and keyboards
• Require frequent hand washing. If soap and running water are not immediately available, provide alcohol based-sanitizer containing at least 60% alcohol
• Avoid touching common items like door handles and elevator buttons
• Discourage workers from using other worker’s phones, desks, offices, or other work tools and equipment when possible
• Avoid employees or customers being in a proximity closer than 6 feet at all times
• Require respiratory etiquette, including covering coughs and sneezes into elbows or forearms, not hands
• Utilize conference call and electronic communications
• Communicate regularly and clearly with your employees
• Provide customers and employees with tissue and trash receptacles
• Avoid gatherings of 10 or more people in waiting rooms or other areas
• When employees are ready to return to work after illness, do not require a doctor’s note – this puts unnecessary stress on the health care system.

Manufacturing

• Increase work space and distance between employees
• Minimize auditors, customers, vendors entering your facility and encourage the use of technology
• Conduct meetings remotely or hold internal group meetings in larger conference rooms where people can maintain distance
• Alter cafeteria practices so people have more space or stagger lunch times
• Install disinfectant spray and hand sanitizer locations throughout the facilities
• Disinfect conference rooms, office, desk locations down regularly throughout the day

CONCLUSION

The Utah Leads Together plan is based on the premise that every Utahn plays a role in Utah’s health and economic recovery. We lead together. To be successful Utahns must take three major actions:

1. Rigorously follow public health guidelines and measure transmission rates
2. Stay engaged with the economy
3. Assist those in need

These actions, combined with the great work of local businesses and aggressive monetary and fiscal policy, will put Utah on the path to recovery. We can ADAPT, INNOVATE, and OVERCOME.

Goal: Provide Utah businesses and residents with clarity and specifics about Utah’s plan for a health and economic recovery.

 

See the full plan here

See the Urgent Phase Public Health Strategy here