Utah Gov. Gary Herbert declares state of emergency

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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert declares state of emergency

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What took him so long? He waits until infections have exploded, on hospitals are on the brink of capacity to begin serious mitigation efforts.

Faced with more than 2,000 new daily COVID-19 cases in his state and hospitals at capacity, Utah's outgoing Gov. Gary Herbert has declared a state of emergency and issued a mandate for all residents to wear masks in public until further notice.

In addition to mandating mask-wearing, the governor laid out three other crucial elements of his emergency declaration: banning people from hosting social gatherings with individuals other than those living in their households for the next two weeks; significantly expanding the state's testing operations; and suspending all high school and club sporting events, and extracurricular activities, for the next two weeks

Under the new orders, businesses will be required to make their employees wear masks and encourage patrons to do the same. Those that don't comply will be subject to fines from the state's labor commission.

"Masks do not negatively affect our economy, and wearing them is the easiest way to slow the spread of the virus," said Herbert

Herbert also warned that anyone caught sponsoring or organizing events in violation of his social distancing orders will be prosecuted and could be subjected to fines of up to $10,000 per occurrence.

In the past seven days, Utah has averaged 2,213 new positive COVID-19 cases per day and set a record on Friday with 2,987, according to the Utah Department of Health. On Saturday, the state recorded 2,956 new positive cases.

Utah now has more than 130,000 positive cases, and a state record 410 people are currently hospitalized with the virus, the data shows. A total of 658 people in the state have died from the contagion, including nine over the weekend.
https://abcnews.go.com/Health/utah-gov- ... d=74105758
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