Update: Governor adds additional clarifications to the State of Emergency and Public Health Order

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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert shares updates during a COVID-19 pandemic press conference Monday, March 30, 2020, at the Utah State Capitol, in Salt Lake City. (Scott G Winterton/Deseret News, via AP, Pool)

UPDATE

NOV 11, 2020 3:44 P.M

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (ABC4 News)The Governor’s office issued updates to the restrictions in place with the new Health Order and restrictions.

The revised order clarifies that:

  1. Physical child custody exchanges, court-ordered parent time, and at-home child care services (including nannies and babysitters) are permitted;
  2. Business services provided at a place of residence (e.g., house cleaning, plumbing) are permitted; and
  3. The requirement for on-campus college students to get weekly COVID-19 testing applies only to students who are age 18 or older.

ORIGINAL STORY

NOVEMBER 9, 2020 9:35 A.M.

Gov. Herbert’s declares new state of emergency, issues 4 new restrictions

Governor Gary Herbert addressed the state of Utah Sunday evening during an emergency message that was announced through an alert system statewide. Following weeks of continued stress on Utah’s hospital networks due to a rise in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Herbert declared a State of Emergency to address hospital overcrowding.

The governor and Utah Department of Health have also issued concurrent executive and public health orders designed to curb the surge of cases in Utah. Both orders go into effect Monday, Nov. 9, and will remain in effect until Nov. 23.

As of Nov. 9, the state will be placed under a statewide mask mandate. Under the mask mandate, all Utahns must wear masks in public, and when within six feet of anyone they don’t live with. The mandate is also enforceable in business settings, which must require employees to wear masks, promote patrons to wear masks, and post signage to that effect. Businesses that fail to do so are subject to fines. The state notes that even after the orders issued Sunday expire that the mask mandate will be extended into the foreseeable future.

The public health orders also include limiting social gatherings to households-only until Nov. 23.

All extracurricular activities, including athletic and intramural events will be put on hold for the duration of the order. This, however, does not limit intercollegiate athletic events, or practices and games associated with high school championships, that follow instructions for testing and limiting crowd size, as detailed in the order.

The order also states that beginning as soon as possible, but no later than Jan. 1, students who are enrolled at public and private institutions of higher education, who either live on-campus or attend at least one in-person class per week will be required to be tested for COVID-19 weekly.

Gov. Herbert says that the recommendations come after a week of analysis and consideration following a meeting with Dr. Robert R. Redfield, Director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, and Dr. Deborah Birx, the Coronavirus Response Coordinator for the White House Coronavirus Task Force.

“To make a real difference in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and turning around the dire
situation in our hospitals, we all need to do more,” said Gov. Gary R. Herbert. “That’s why we
are restricting casual social gatherings for the next two weeks. This means many of us may have
to cancel plans with extended family and friends. This is a sacrifice for all of us. But as we slow
the spread it will make all the difference for our overworked healthcare workers, who
desperately need our help.”

Lt. Gov. and Governor-elect Spencer Cox added, “There was a lot we didn’t know at the start of the pandemic,” Cox said. “Now we know better what we are up against, and we know more about how to fight it. We know masks work. We know limiting gatherings and maintaining distance from each other works. Our dedicated medical professionals are learning more about which therapeutics work to combat the disease. I am confident that we can beat this, but only if each of us does more. As leaders, we know testing is a critical piece of our response. While we ask Utahns to do some heavy lifting, we’re also significantly ramping up targeted testing in age groups that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention tell us are frequently asymptomatic.”

The state also announced Sunday that it will activate additional National Guard resources to assist in contact tracing, and rollout an accelerated testing program for asymptomatic individuals, focusing on required weekly testing on college campuses, testing for students who participate in extracurricular activities, and eventual workplace testing for people 35 and younger, since that particular age group is most likely to be asymptomatic if they contract COVID-19.

The Utah Department of Health is also planning on expanding rapid asymptomatic testing to high school teachers in the state. All K-12 teachers in the state currently have access to PCR testing through TestUtah.

Sydnee Dickson, State Superintendent, expressed support for efforts to control school outbreaks
by focusing on testing students who participate in extracurricular activities and providing tests
for educators.

“Our schools have done a tremendous job in mitigating the virus in our classrooms and
buildings. Utah is also one of the few states that tracks and publishes outbreak data on a public
dashboard. These elements have been key in keeping our rate of spread in schools relatively
low,” Dickson said. “However, we are concerned about the rising rates of spread that seemingly
occur outside of the classroom. We believe that adding robust testing of students involved in
activities outside of the school day will help identify outbreaks more quickly, allow us to
continue in-person learning where feasible, and further protect our school communities.”

The governor’s executive order and the public health order issued by the Utah Department of
Health are effective at 1:00 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020.

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