Following an emergency alert, Utah Governor Gary Herbert addressed the state on Sunday evening with a new state of emergency due to hospitalizations and case growths of COVID-19 being unsustainable.
Governor Herbert stated that hospitals are at capacity, medical professionals are exhausted and are spread too thin.
“In our war against COVID-19, we need our doctors and our nurses, and now they need us,” Governor Herbert stated.
New record numbers are reported day after day and it is threatening patients that rely on hospital care. With this in mind, the governor declared the new state of emergency to address the hospital overcrowding.
Governor Herbert then shared four critical announcements, with the first being, effective Nov. 9, he is placing the entire state of Utah under a mask mandate until further notice.
With this mandate, businesses must require employees to wear masks and clearly post signs signify that patrons of the business must do the same. Those that do not follow these orders will receive fines.
Second, the governor stated that data tells the most vulnerable to infection are those that are in casual social gatherings. By the order of the governor’s office and the state department of health, Utahns must not participate in or host casual social gatherings with those not in their immediate household for two weeks.
The governor cautioned that those breaking this mandate will not be tolerated and state authorities will prosecute those who do, with a possible fine of up to $10,000 for social gatherings, per occurrence.
For the upcoming holidays, Governor Herbert stated that recommendations and guidelines will be given shortly.
Finally, because students that participate in activities outside of the school environment are exposed more, a postponement of sports and after school activities was also put into effect. Governor Herbert then gave the fourth announcement in the form of more testing.
He stated that they will launch a targeted testing program for those that do not have symptoms as well, aiming toward university and high school students, teachers and the like. 659 Utahns have been lost due to the virus.
“Simple actions can make a critical difference,” Governor Herbert stated.