Not ‘essential’ and not forced to close, here’s how Salt Lake County’s coronavirus order impacts in between businesses

(Jeremy Harmon | Tribune file photo) Beatrice Powers, from Montana, shops at Ken Sanders Rare Books in Salt Lake City on January 16, 2020.

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With Salt Lake County issuing a coronavirus-induced stay-at-home order, and listing which businesses are considered essential and which ones should close immediately, the county’s Health Department got a few calls Monday from businesses asking, in effect, “Where do I fit in?”

The weekend order listed such businesses as barber shops, hair and nail salons, eyebrow threading services, and tattoo parlors — places where maintaining a 6-foot zone of “social distancing” would be impossible — in the “red” category, businesses that must close at once.

They join a list that includes places where large groups gather: movie theaters, aquariums, zoos, museums, arcades, swimming pools, gyms, playgrounds, performance venues and so on.

The “green” list, representing essential businesses, is a long one, which includes: Grocery stores, pharmacies, convenience stores, gas stations, food and beverage production, laundromats, insurance and financial providers, hotels and motels, child care centers and many more.

In the middle is the “yellow” category, said Nicholas Rupp, spokesman for the Salt Lake County Health Department — which is, in practical terms, everything else.

Businesses in the “yellow,” or restricted, category can stay open, Rupp said, but must adhere to strict safety rules. For example, they are required to send employees home if they are ill or are showing symptoms of COVID-19. Also, those businesses must enforce the 6-foot social distancing rules between employees and customers, and between customers and one another.

Restaurants fit in the “yellow” category, but under even stricter guidelines: Curbside takeout or “no contact” delivery, encouraging remote payments, and no dine-in service.

The health department received several calls Monday from dog groomers, Rupp said. They count in the “yellow” group, because although a groomer may be touching the dog, he or she is still staying 6 feet away from the dog’s owner. According to the available science, Rupp said, transmission of coronavirus happens between humans, not between a person and a pet.

The county also has received calls from construction workers, Rupp said. “Critical construction trades” are listed in the essential, or “green,” category — and some builders weren’t sure if they were considered “critical.” Again, he said, if construction workers are maintaining the social distancing rules, they’re safe to keep working.

“The whole thing is about common sense, when it comes down to it,” Rupp said.

Some businesses in the “yellow” area have already taken steps in reaction to the coronavirus pandemic. Some examples:

Clothing • The Nordstrom clothing stores remain closed through, at least, April 5. Both Macy’s and Kohl’s have temporarily closed all their stores, as have REI and Levi’s stores nationwide. So has the Savers thrift store chain, along with Deseret Industries’ stores and donation drop-off sites.

Books • Many independent bookstores in the Salt Lake City area had already closed their brick-and-mortar locations voluntarily. Weller Book Works and The King’s English are selling books online; Ken Sanders’ Rare Books and Central Book Exchange are doing online and curbside delivery; and Golden Braid Books is closed outright for the near future. The U. Campus Store and its Sandy branch are closed to the public, though campus departments are still being served and online orders are still being processed.

Car washes • Mister Car Wash, which has 14 locations in Utah, have stopped cleaning interiors; the chain has closed temporarily all stores in 11 of the 21 states in which it operates, and at some locations in five other states — including in Park City. The Supersonic Car Wash chain, with 10 locations in Utah, remains open, observing health and safety guidelines.