Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall talks COVID-19, Stay at Home orders, and business during online Q&A

Apr 20, 2020, 5:43 PM
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall talks COVID-19, Stay at Home orders, and business during onlin...
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall answered questions during an AMA on Facebook regarding when businesses will reopen. (Photo: Kelli Pierce)
(Photo: Kelli Pierce)

SALT LAKE CITY – Salt Lake City mayor Erin Mendenhall talks COVID-19 and how the city is handling it during an online Q&A with the Emerging Leaders Initiative of Utah.

Many asked the mayor what it would take to reopen up the economy. It’s a question she’s been asked a lot over the past few weeks.

Mendenhall indicated it would all be based on the numbers.

“[When] we see a transmission rate of less than one to one in the city for at least two weeks. That’s a benchmark we are going to be watching for. Consistent levels of widespread testing and contact tracing ability, and then that decrease in the number of cases that have no known source of exposure because that’s one of the data points that tell us what kind of community spread is happening,” Mendenhall said.

The mayor said that’s similar to the benchmarks the state of Utah has.

While Mendenhall supports Salt Lake County’s Stay at Home order, COVID-19 restrictions may be in place a lot longer in the city.

This is because Salt Lake City currently has the highest COVID-19 transmission rates in the state, with some downtown and west side neighborhoods especially hard hit.

“Salt Lake City isn’t the same as Riverton, and a county-wide declaration may not fit us and our residents…This is absolutely not a time for us to loosen our restrictions,” Mendenhall said.

She also said she doesn’t know of anyone who has been cited for violating the county’s order.

Mendenhall said the goal of the city and law enforcement is to educate, not punish people. However, it can be tough for officers to cite people gathered in large groups.

“When we confront them, they’re likely to say, and have said on many occasions, ‘This is my family. I live with these people.’ It becomes very difficult to say, ‘No, you don’t’ or ‘Prove it,'” Mendenhall said.

The Q&A was not all serious topics. Mendenhall reflected on her accomplishments over the past 100 days, including setting up a temporary homeless shelter and getting concessions on the Inland Port project.

She is also open to the idea of closing off some streets in Salt Lake City, even after the pandemic is over, to give people more options to walk around.

Related articles:

Mayor Mendenhall: Plan to reopen businesses in Salt Lake City like a “dial, not a light switch”

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall talks COVID-19 on Twitter

Erin Mendenhall sworn in as new Salt Lake City Mayor


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus 


COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading: 

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.  
  • Don’t touch your face. 
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet) 
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.) 
  • Get a flu shot. 

Resources for more information: 


State of Utah: 

Utah State Board of Education 

Utah Hospital Association 

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints 

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707 

National Links 

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization 

Cases in the United States 




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Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall talks COVID-19, Stay at Home orders, and business during online Q&A