How do I get on Utah’s “essential business” list? 

There is no “essential business list” for the state of Utah. Utah’s “stay safe, stay home” directive is different from other states in that it has not defined essential businesses: in other words, the state expects business leaders to do what is right for their employees and customers pursuant to the CDC and Department of Health guidelines. However, please note that some local orders have identified “essential services.”

Where can you find the specific language of the orders and directives?

Google [name of county] health department and you can find the full text for now. Going forward, the various local orders will be available on the website.

I’ve heard it mentioned that there are three types of companies in many of the orders. Could you clarify those types of businesses for me? 

Although each local order is unique, there will commonly be three types business categories that are impacted:

  1. businesses that must cease operations entirely. These businesses tend to be “personal services” where the nature of the business operation does not allow for social distancing and therefore there is a risk of transmission due to the shared space.

  2. The next category are businesses that can continue to operate, but that need to adopt new practices to be able to create space between patrons and/or employees. An example of this second category in many of these local orders is be food services, which requires drive through or curbside pickup.

  3. And finally, the third category are those that are considered to be “essential businesses” or “critical infrastructure.” These are companies that can operate even if the nature of the work does not allow for strict social distancing (although innovations to social distance and health check employees are strongly urged). While the counties recognize that all businesses and employees play an important role in our economy, these “essential” business functions can continue to work because of the vital role they play in our national, state, or local critical infrastructure.

If you work in multiple counties (or live in one and work in another) which order do you follow?

As long as you are engaged in travel to and from work, you can live in one county and commute to another (presumably to an essential business). Ex. Doctor who lives in Park City but, offices in Sugar House.

What if I want to visit another county to get some fresh air?

Several of the local orders have language banning or dissuading recreational visitors coming to their counties or non-essential travel throughout the county. The State directive has also limited state park visitations to residents of the county in which the state park exists.

Does a county order supersede a city order?

Salt Lake County’s order supersedes the Salt Lake City proclamation but Salt Lake City has added additional language about the airport for example. So it’s symbiotic in nature.

How do you appeal, ask for an exemption, or clarify a directive or order?

To reiterate, to this point, the state has not created a list of essential businesses. If you want to appeal a County order, presumably you would reach out to the County health department.

Should my employees carry a letter indicating they are an essential employee and some form of company identification? 

While not strictly necessary, we would encourage you to consider it. This has been recommended by some of the local municipalities. We would advise that you encourage your employees to carry some form of identification while they are in transit.

How are the local municipalities identifying “essential businesses”? 

Many of the local orders have a similar flavor because they are following federal guidance. Through the Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (or “CISA,” an agency within the U.S. Department of Homeland Security), the federal government has provided guidance to state, local, and tribal health departments. Many of the local orders reference the CISA guidance in listing their “essential businesses.”

We therefore encourage all businesses participating to consider whether or how you fit into one of the 16 sectors identified by CISA as being critical to public health and safety, as well as economic and national security. You can find the CISA guidance at, with a link to the guidance on the homepage.