Utah Gov. Gary Herbert Orders Mask Mandate, New Restrictions As COVID Cases Spike

(Screenshot/Twitter/Gov. Gary Herbert)

Brianna Lyman News and Commentary Writer
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Republican Utah Gov. Gary Herbert and Governor-elect Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox signed emergency orders late Sunday night as the state sees a spike in coronavirus cases and deaths.

“Due to the alarming rate of COVID infections within our state, tonight I issued a new state of emergency with several critical changes to our response,” Herbert said in a video posted to his official Twitter account. “These changes are not shutting down our economy, but are absolutely necessary to save lives and hospital capacity.”

Herbert assured Utah residents that “Utah is open for business.”

“You can still shop, dine in or carry out, exercise, worship and recreate, and many other things,” Herbert said in the video. “We are just saying stay within your household group whenever possible, particularly for the next two weeks.” (RELATED: Utah Vs. Arizona Canceled Because Of Coronavirus)

The new restrictions include a statewide mask mandate “for the foreseeable future,” according to The Salt Lake Tribune. The orders also limit social gatherings to people in the same household and ban school extracurricular activities.

Local and state authorities can also fine people who host public gatherings that don’t include social distancing and face masks up to $10,000, per the same report.

The restrictions begin Monday at 1 p.m. and end Nov. 23. The governor will release holiday recommendations within the next few days.

Bars must close at 10 p.m. and restaurants can only serve people from the same households. Businesses also have to maintain social distancing between tables.

The restrictions come as Utah hit a record-high seven day positive test average of 20.6% cases per day, according to KSL. Utah’s ICU occupancy also hit a record-high of 78.2% per the same report.

There have been more than 130,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Utah, according to Forbes.