UTAH COUNTY, Utah (ABC4 News) – Residents in Orem and Provo are reacting to returning to the orange phase. Governor Gary Herbert announced the move will take effect at 11:59 pm Wednesday. The Utah Department of Health hopes the temporary measure will curb the virus.
“I feel like here it is a little bit out of control,” said Utah Valley University Sophomore Denise Garcia.
Garcia is an out-of-stater who chose to go to UVU. She fears the university will go back to remote learning which could cost her valuable lab time she needs to graduate.
“I’m a college student. I do see a lot, what is going on. There is a lot of parties going on. There is still people gathering in apartments in big groups,” she adds.
State Epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn tells us the Utah County COVID-19 growth is more than five times the rest of the state.
The state coronavirus website states the orange phase consists of wearing a face-covering in public, sticking to groups that are 20 or less, and having six feet of social distance where possible. Teleworking is preferred, but businesses can stay open under certain protocols. Restaurants are encouraged to do take out or delivery.
Residents in both cities are up in the air about a mask mandate.
“We need and must have our masks on at all times,” said Provo Resident Daniel Anderson.
Orem Resident Filippo Magistro said, “If you force people then they will start rebelling.”
Filippo Magistro says wearing a mask is a personal choice but if you chose not to wear one he has a message, “I respect them as long as they keep distance you know.”
Late Tuesday evening, Utah County Commissioner Tanner Ainge released a joint letter with Commissioner Nathan Ivie and Utah County Health Direct Ralph Clegg on the spike in COVID-19 cases.
The letter addresses mass gatherings stating the health department, city, and county administrations “will focus on reviewing licensed entities and large gatherings for compliance.”
The letter goes on to state, “The face covering requirement provides for exceptions, local adaptation, and is not intended to be enforced with criminal penalties.”