To address hospital overcrowding as COVID-19 cases continue to surge in the state of Utah, Gov. Gary Herbert issued a new state of emergency on Sunday night. The order includes a state-wide mask mandate and limits all casual gatherings to members of the same household for the next two weeks.
“Businesses must require employees to wear masks and to promote mask wearing to their patrons and visibly post signings to that effect,” Herbert said. “Those who fail to do so will be subject to fines from the labor commissions.”
The emergency order also placed a hold on all extracurricular activities, including athletic and intramural events. The expectation is intercollegiate sports and games that are associated with high school championships.
The state is also working to expand testing. As soon as possible, Utah higher education students attending at least one in person class a week will be required to be tested each week.
“During this two week period and beyond we will test more people who have symptoms and we will also launch a targeted testing program for those who don't have symptoms,” Herbert said. “It will begin with weekly testing for our university students and expand to include high school students who participate in extracurricular activities, people in the workplace under the age of 35 and our high school teachers.”
The governor made clear that this is not a shut down of the state’s economy.
“We cannot wait upon a vaccine knowing the havoc that this pandemic has wreaked on families, schools and businesses,” he said. “We must do more. And we must do it now.”