Amid COVID-19 Concerns, Governor Makes Recommendations For State

Mar 12, 2020, 7:20 AM | Updated: 7:00 pm
FILE (Getty Images)...
FILE (Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – State leaders on Thursday held a press conference to announce measures to prevent community spread of COVID-19.

Gov. Gary Herbert and Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox were joined by educational leaders to outline recommendations made by Utah’s COVID-19 Community Task Force.

Herbert said there hasn’t been community spread of the virus so far in Utah, but spread is likely to occur.

“Things possibly could get worse and the spread could continue,” he said. “We’re taking a very proactive position here in the State of Utah.”

Herbert said the recommendations are based on “good science” and are designed to keep Utahns safe. They will be effective for the next two weeks. They include:

  • Limit mass gatherings to fewer than 100
    • Gatherings should only include healthy people
    • Includes church gatherings, concerts, etc.
    • Does not apply to schools at this time
  • Health Department will assess each school district on a case-by-case basis
  • People older than 60 should avoid gatherings with more than 20 people
  • Immunocompromised individuals should avoid gatherings with more than 20 people
  • Utahns should telecommute if possible
    • Utah employers have been asked to accommodate their employees

The governor’s order to cancel all mass gatherings of 100 people or more starting Monday is having a huge impact on some major events and productions scheduled.

From sporting events, to concerts, to stage productions, to a parade, and a fun run – to name a few that are happening over the next couple of weeks in Salt Lake.

“This is completely unprecedented,” said Patricia A. Richards, the interim president and CEO of Utah Symphony and Utah Opera.

This is opening weekend for Barber of Seville, a comedic opera that has been in the planning stages for two years. Opening day was on Monday and it went through next week.

“It’s a huge blow financially,  but the health and safety of our patrons, our performers and everyone involved is the most important,” said Richards. We want to be part of whatever solution there is in stopping the virus.”

Mayor Erin Mendenhall didn’t want to wait until Monday to cancel events. She issued an executive order cancelling all gatherings of a 100 or more people to take place on Thursday.

“We want to get ahead of this curve as far as possible to really flatten that curve of community impact and infection,” said Mayor Mendenhall to KSL. “Making that decision saves us money and saves people’s lives in the long run. Right now prevention is the best thing we can do.”

READ MORE: Some Districts, Universities Choose To Close, Move Classes Online

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Amid COVID-19 Concerns, Governor Makes Recommendations For State