Utah Announces Statewide Mask Mandate
November 8, 2020, Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced to the state that a statewide mask mandate would be in effect immediately, along with other safety measures following rising COVID cases and as the US reaches 10 million cases. This aims to help the struggling and over capacity healthcare systems in the state. Under the new requirements, all residents of Utah must wear masks in public and when within 6ft of those they do not live with.
“Masks do not negatively affect our economy and wearing them is the easiest way to slow the spread of the virus. We cannot afford to debate this issue any longer.” The Governor said on Sunday night. Cases have been rising quickly in Utah with a positivity rate of 20.6% for the past week, as per NPR.
Under the new mandates, businesses are required to have employees and customers wear masks along with posting signage. Those that do not comply with the order will face fines. Its worth noting that most counties in Utah already have mask mandates in place. Along with mask mandates other restrictions are for social gatherings and apply to those people not living together for the next two weeks. “You should cancel plans with extended family and friends for two weeks. Telework if you can,” Herbert stated while explaining the new regulations.
So far Utah has reported 132,621 cases with over 6,000 hospitalizations and 659 deaths. The increased concern is for the struggling and overcapacity hospital systems. If beds are full of COVID victims there is no room for other injuries or illness to be taken care of.
Those that violate the public gatherings restrictions along with mask mandates could face a fine up to $10,000 for each instance. School, religious, and work services are not included as part of this mandate as they are already under mask guidelines. Most sports and activities are on hold for now except for college sports. The executive order comes into effect Monday November 9th and will last until November 23rd. Mask mandates will continue to be in effect after that date.
A full economic shutdown is deemed not necessary in Utah at this time according to Herbert, but urged everyone to wear masks and exercise caution around others. Business are still open for business including restaurants, shops, churches, and some recreation facilities.
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