Utah lifts gathering restrictions on private property, switches back to “transmission index”

Nov 23, 2020, 11:28 AM | Updated: 3:33 pm
Gov. Herbert holds COVID-19 briefing on Monday Nov. 23 ....
Gov. Herbert holds COVID-19 briefing on Monday Nov. 23 .

SALT LAKE CITY– With Thanksgiving right around the corner, Utah officials have issued an updated public health order.

During the state’s monthly COVID-19 briefing, Rich Sanders, Director of the Utah Department of Health (UDOH) announced that, at midnight on Tuesday, the state will transition back to the “Transmission Index” as a way to monitor the spread of COVID-19.

The order will end on Dec. 8 unless amended or modified. 

Saunders said 26 out of 29 counties in Utah will remain in the “High” transmission category. The only counties that will not be in the “High” transmission category will be Daggett, Piute, and Rich. Those counties will be in the “Low” index.

Along with the transition, Saunders announced that the gathering limit as it relates to private property will be removed from the public health order. 

“We still recommend gathering with only those in your household,” said Saunders. “We recommend keeping the numbers small. In high transmission areas, gatherings of 10 or fewer, and in low transmission rates 50 people or fewer.” 



“Bringing in people [from] outside of your home will increase the risk of COVID-19,” said Gov. Herbert. “Smaller is better when it comes to minimizing the risk.”

Additionally, the governor told Utahns not to hold pot luck style turkey dinners. 

Even though there is no limit on private property gatherings, UDOH recommends wearing a mask and practicing physical distancing around one another.  

Thanksgiving travel and gatherings

State leaders and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have encouraged people to stay home and cancel travel for Thanksgiving. 

Just two weeks ago, Gov. Herbert instituted a new State of Emergency along with regulations to help slow the spread of COVID-19. The regulations included a statewide mask mandate, limited gatherings, and a curfew on alcohol sales at bars and restaurants.

Although the request for limited gatherings has been lifted, the rest of the regulations remain in place. 

The maks mandate is still in place. Masks are required throughout the entire state in public places where physical distancing is not feasible. At public mass gatherings, like sporting events and theater performances, masks are also required. 

COVID-19 cases, deaths and hospitalizations over the last several weeks have continued to break records, with the most recent record on Nov. 20, when the state of Utah reported 4,588 new cases of the virus. 

On Monday, the state reported 2,244 new cases of COVID-19, that 545  more Utahns were hospitalized, and that four additional Utahns had died of COVID-19. 

School extracurriculars can resume under the Transmission Index 

Beginning next Monday, extracurricular activities at Utah public schools will be allowed to resume under certain conditions.

All participants, including coaches, students, trainers, and staff must be tested for COVID-19 every other week. If anyone tests positive for the virus, that person cannot participate until they’ve concluded their isolation period. 

The rules are a little different for club sports.

“Club sports continue to be a concern for us,” said Saunders. “We’ve put them under a public health order.”

The order asks all participants in club sports, including dance studios, gymnastic gyms, volleyball gyms, and similar businesses to have their temperatures and symptom checks prior to entering the facility.

Quarantine and masks in the workplace

Businesses will also be able to change employee quarantine protocol. Exposed employees are now allowed to get tested for COVID-19 after 7 days into a quarantine period. A negative result will clear them for work. 

Dean of the David Eccles School of Business at the University of Utah, Taylor Randall, also discussed a new study about masks and the economy.

According to the findings of a study conducted by researchers for the Marriner S. Eccles Institute for Economics and Quantitative Analysis at the David Eccles School of Business, masks help the economic recovery. The analysis looked at all 3,142 U.S. counties. 

Randall said their research found that wearing a mask creates a triple play.

“It helps slow the spread of COVID-19 in our communities, it also increases consumer mobility in stores, and restaurants and also increase consumer spending,” Randall said.  

Additionally, one key finding of the study differentiates between mask mandates issued by the state as opposed to those issued by individual counties.

The researchers say the benefits of increased consumer mobility in stores and restaurants, as well as increased consumer spending, occur when statewide mask mandates were in place. 

“State mask mandates are the key to these findings,” said Randall “County mandates don’t have an effect.” 


Today’s Top Stories

COVID-19-Utah response

BYU study COVID money...
Martha Harris

BYU study says ‘going cashless was useless’ during height of pandemic

Many businesses went to a cash-only model at the start of the pandemic. A recent BYU study found the effort made little impact.
2 months ago
Flags are ordered to be lowered...
Amie Schaeffer

Flags lowered to honor lives lost to COVID-19

In accordance with an order from President Biden, Gov. Cox authorized flags lowered through May 16. The order is meant to honor lives lost to the virus.
2 months ago
Utah national parks no longer have a mask mandate...
Chandler Holt

Masks no longer required in national parks

Since a federal judge struck down the CDC's transportation mask mandate, guests in national parks can choose if they'd like to wear a mask or not.
2 months ago
Photo of two 'mask required' signs...
Associated Press

CDC to extend federal travel mask mandate

CDC to extend travel mask mandate for two weeks to monitor uptick in COVID-19 cases.
3 months ago
Utah begings using wastewater to track components of the COVID-19 virus in communities...
Dan Bammes

Monitoring COVID-19 virus in Utah through wastewater

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah is monitoring levels of the COVID-19 virus components in sewage at wastewater treatment plants across the state. While it’s a useful early warning system, Utah’s state epidemiologist says it’s just one of the tools they have for monitoring COVID-19 infections in the community. Last year, when the Delta variant showed […]
3 months ago
(A testing site operated by Nomi Health across the street from UDOH headquarters.  Photo: Paul Nels...
Paul Nelson

Federal health officials investigating Utah-based company over COVID-19 testing

A Utah-based company is being investigating for claims of substandard conditions at COVID-19 testing sites.
3 months ago

Sponsored Articles

Tax Harassment...
Jordan Wilcox

The best strategies for dealing with IRS tax harassment | You have options!

Learn how to deal with IRS tax harassment. This guide will teach you how to stop IRS phone calls and letters, and how to handle an IRS audit.
spend a day at Bear Lake...
Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

You’ll love spending the day at Bear Lake | How to spend a day at Bear Lake

Bear Lake is a place that needs to be experienced. Spend a day at Bear Lake.
Curb Appeal...
Price's Guaranteed Doors

How to have the best of both worlds for your house | Home security and curb appeal

Protect your home and improve its curb appeal with the latest security solutions like beautiful garage doors and increased security systems.
Prescription opioids can be disposed of during National Prescription Take Back Day...
Know Your Script

Prescription opioid misuse | How to protect your family from the opioid epidemic

Studies have shown that prescription opioid misuse has increased since COVID-19. So what do you need to know about these opioids?
national heart month...
Intermountain Healthcare

National Heart Month: 5 Lifestyle Changes to Make Today to Keep You Heart Healthy

Heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. One person dies every 36 seconds in the United States from cardiovascular disease
Joseph Smith Memorial Building...
Temple Square

The Joseph Smith Memorial Building is an icon of Salt Lake City | Why hosting an event at this beautiful location will make you a hero this year

Here's why hosting an event at the iconic Joseph Smith Memorial Building in downtown Salt Lake City will make you a hero this year.
Utah lifts gathering restrictions on private property, switches back to “transmission index”