Utah Gov. Gary Herbert issued a statewide mask mandate Sunday night as part of emergency orders directing Utahns to limit social gatherings to their own household to combat the state's current COVID-19 surge.
"We must do more, and we must do it now," he said. "This is about much more than just mandates. This is about personal responsibility."
Both orders, which go into effect Monday at 1 p.m. MT, and will remain until at least Monday, Nov. 23, represent the governor's widest measures of reform to date as Utah hit an all-time high in the spread of the virus, including new cases and hospitalization rates, in the same week.
"I ask you now, and I implore you, to do everything within your power to stop the spread of this disease. It is time for the divisiveness to end, and for all of us as Utahns to unite in making whatever sacrifice is necessary to help our neighbor and to bring healing back to our state."
- A statewide mask mandate for all Utahns in public, where six feet of physical distancing is not possible, which will "be extended for the foreseeable future," state officials said.
- The mandate is enforceable in all business settings, requiring employees to wear face coverings, promoting mask-wearing among patrons, and posted signage to the same effect. Any business that fails to do so will be subject to fines, the order says.
- Limiting casual social gatherings to household-only through the length of the order.
- A two-week hold on all extracurricular activities, including athletic and intramural events, with the exception of intercollegiate athletics and practices, and games and training associated with high school championships that follow instructions for testing and limited crowd sizes.
- Mandatory weekly testing for COVID-19 by all higher-education students in public and private institutions who either live on campus or attend at least one in-person class per week, with a plan that must be established as soon as possible but no later than Jan. 1, 2021.
Final Point and a Question
Governor Herbert is a Republican in a state that voted overwhelmingly for Trump.
Did he purposely hold off this announcement until after the election?