Pandemics and earthquakes remind us of what’s important in life — our health, families, jobs and a state we call home. During this era of social distancing, we can learn the power of “social persistence”, as we pass through what Thomas Paine would have called “times that try men’s souls.” But we need to remember the rest of what he said — “the harder the conflict, the more glorious the triumph” — words that are apropos to our current situation battling an enemy that is invisible, but an enemy we can overcome.

The coronavirus has recalibrated our sense of time, health and hopes over our economic future. Anticipating this challenge, Governor Herbert created the Economic Response Task Force to develop a plan, and asked me to chair the group. Under this mandate, many of the most capable minds in the state assembled to outline a strategy for action to combat the negative effects of the coronavirus. In less than a week, our team put together a flexible but comprehensive initiative called “Utah Leads Together.”

The primary goal of the Task Force in laying out the “Utah Leads Together” plan was to provide our businesses and employees with clarity and actionable information to promote health and economic recovery. The plan consists of three phases with primacy given to the initial Urgent Phase that focuses on the coordinated public health response coupled with historic economic stimulus to sustain the economy during this critical time.

Phase two will begin once our public health measures control the spread of the virus and economic intervention takes hold. We consider this to be the Stabilization Phase wherein we “flatten the dip” in the economy and can start to bend the economic curve back upward into a recovery period. The final Recovery Phase is one where we believe job growth will return and stability across the health and economic front meshes together. It is our hope that as the economic decline is tied directly to the pandemic, our markets and commercial sectors will return to health as quickly as we overcome the coronavirus.

I encourage you to read the plan, share it with your employees, and adapt it for your business. Click here to view the plan.

Let me conclude with my belief that as our knowledge of the virus expands we will adapt to its risks, and through innovation we will overcome its challenges. Our purpose is to alleviate the illness of those infected and the economic pain being felt by all. The history of Utah shows that we are at our best when facing adversity. We are the beneficiaries of a legacy that turned a barren desert into the most powerful state economy in America. It’s part of our history, it’s part of our heritage and it is in our DNA. And I am confident we can turn this setback into an economic comeback!

Derek Miller
President & CEO Salt Lake Chamber
Chair, Economic Response Task Force