New COVID-19 Restrictions In Place For All Utahns
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – There are big changes to how The Beehive State is fighting the coronavirus as Utah has seen a surge in new cases and hospitalizations.
New case numbers have been averaging close to 1,200 a day over the past week. Current hospitalizations have increased, though they have been remaining steady the past couple of days. However, medical professionals have warned Utah that intensive care unit beds are getting closer to capacity.
Gov. Gary Herbert said the state needs a new game plan when it comes to COVID-19 guidance – no more red, orange, yellow or green. On Tuesday, he announced a new system that sets different guidelines based on the numbers in each county.
The new system also includes stricter measures on masks and gatherings, which will depend on which county a person lives in.
Herbert said the new game plan is a “halftime adjustment,” and it comes with a new health order that will begin Thursday.
Utah is now using three metrics to designate each county to a certain level of transmission: High, Moderate and Low.
Six counties are currently in the High Level: Salt Lake, Utah, Wasatch, Cache, Juab and Garfield.
Each level comes with its own restrictions. For the High Level of Transmission, social gatherings will be limited to 10 people or fewer, and that includes friends and family members getting together. That restriction does not apply to religious services or events with organizational oversight.
Masks are required in public indoor settings in High and Moderate Transmission areas as well as outdoors when social distancing is not an option.
“I know that masks are controversial,” said Rich Saunders, acting director of the Utah Department of Health. “Some people make political statements by either wearing them or not wearing them. But if you take the politics out and look at the science, masks just work. They’re not the save-all to everything we need, but they work.”
Saunders said that regardless of an area’s risk level, spectators, guests, employees and patrons are required to wear masks statewide at public gatherings – including at theaters, sporting events, live concerts and weddings.
Only the performers at these events are exempt from mask wearing.
Pre-existing county mask mandates and statewide mask mandates for K – 12 schools also remain in place.
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