Provo and Orem started to look a little more normal on Friday, May 1, as some Utahns took advantage of Gov. Gary Herbert’s decision to allow some businesses across the state to reopen. “Please exercise caution as we loosen restrictions this weekend,” Herbert said in a tweet. The loosening of restrictions are part of Utah’s move from “high risk” to “moderate risk.” According to the Utah COVID-19 Task Force, Utahns should continue to wear masks in public and stick to only essential travel.
“Store closing” signs and face masks were among the reminders that Provo is far from returning to its pre-pandemic normal. The Deseret News reported an estimated $3.84 billion from the federal Paycheck Protection and Economic Injury Disaster Loan programs had been approved for distribution to more than 32,000 Utah companies. Utah state also created the Utah Leads Together Small Business Loan Program. After 500 applicants received loans ranging from $5,000 to $20,000 with 0% interest for up to five years, the Governor’s Office of Economic Development opened up an additional $4.9 million in small business loans.
Federal and state loans didn’t come quick enough for some businesses, though. Companies like Unhinged, a boutique on Center Street, are permanently closing their doors due to the economic strain of the pandemic.
Other businesses seemed to stay empty despite reopening their doors to customers. Check the Universe’s COVID-19 page for continued coverage on how the pandemic and reopenings affect the community.