This State Just Issued a Statewide COVID Mandate
In an action that reflects the severity of COVID-19, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, a Republican, issued an executive order that includes a mask mandate and other restrictions. His state has seen more than 2,200 cases a day and a 20% positivity rate. "We cannot afford to debate this issue any longer," the governor said. "The number of infections in our state is growing at an alarming rate. Our hospitals in Utah are among the best in the world. But they cannot give the best care when hospitals are at capacity and medical professionals are exhausted and spread too thin, and that is what is happening now," Herbert said. The mandate goes into effect Monday—read on to discover what it entails, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus.
Statewide Mask Mandate
Says the order: "You must wear a mask in public and when within six feet of anyone you don't live with. This mandate is also enforceable in business settings, which must require employees to wear masks, request patrons wear masks, and post signage to that effect. Businesses that fail to do so will be subject to fines. Please note that even after the orders issued expire, the mask mandate will be extended for the foreseeable future." "Masks do not negatively affect our economy and wearing them is the easiest way to slow the spread of the virus. Experts tell us that masks do not cause a shortage of oxygen to your brain or cause disease," Herbert said Sunday evening.
Social Gathering Limits
"You must keep casual social gatherings to household-only until November 23, 2020," says the order, notably stopping short before Thanksgiving on November 26th. "A social gathering refers to any in-person gathering of individuals from separate households. This does not include a gathering for a primarily educational or religious purpose."
No Extracurricular Activities
Said the order: "Youth and high school students must not participate in extracurricular activities, including athletic and intramural events, for the duration of the order. This does not limit intercollegiate athletic events, or practices and games associated with high school championships, that follow instructions for testing and limiting crowd size, as detailed in the order."
Weekly Testing for College and University Students
"Students enrolled at public and private institutions of higher education, who either live on campus or attend at least one in-person class per week, must be tested for COVID-19 weekly. Like the mask mandate, this requirement will continue for the foreseeable future. K-12 schools are open for in-person learning," per the order.
New Business Requirements
All businesses, including bars and restaurants, must:
- Require employees and contractors to wear a face covering while at work.
- Ask patrons to wear a face mask.
- Require at least 6 feet of physical distance between household groups. For bars and restaurants, at least 6 feet of physical distance is required between parties. Bars must close by 10 p.m. until November 23, 2020.
- Post signage that lists COVID-19 symptoms, asks individuals experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to stay home, and provides notice of face mask and physical distancing requirements.
"What I shared with you this evening is not a shutdown of our society or our economy. We are not closing any businesses," Herbert said. "Utah is open for business. You can still shop, dine in or carry out, exercise, worship and recreate, and many other things."
The Utah Governor Addressed the Issue of Personal Freedom
"Individual freedom is certainly important, and it is our rule of law that protects that freedom. Laws are put in place to protect all of us. That's why we have traffic lights, speed limits and seat belts, and that's why we now have a mask mandate," Herbert said. As for yourself, no matter where you live, wear your face mask, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.