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Utah Gov. Gary R. Herbert is setting strict guidelines to help slow and stop the spread of COVID-19. The governor will fine a person up to $10,000 if they host a social event in Utah, starting on Monday, November 9, 2020, through Monday, November 23, 2020.
In a nine-minute video posted to Twitter, Herbert why he stated decided to declare a state of emergency in Utah — for two weeks.
He outlined that heart conditions, surgeries, treatments, and an array of pre-existing medical issues and emergencies did not stop due to the coronavirus. Hospitals in Utah are inundated with patients receiving treatment due to the virus, making it difficult for others with non-related virus issues to receive help.
Like all states, Utah has a finite number of beds, supplies, and, more importantly, hospitals and healthcare workers. For five consecutive days starting on Nov. 4, Utah’s COVID-19 cases increased. Four hundred thirty-seven people were hospitalized in Utah on Sunday, Nov. 8, 2020, for COVID-19 related issues.
Utah’s Rising COVID-19 Numbers
Over 125,000 cases have been reported in Utah, and more than 650 people have died due to the non-discriminating virus.
Thanksgiving Day is approaching, and Herbert’s restrictions end on Nov 23. This will affect the traditional family and friends celebrations Utahns are used to — if his restrictions are extended.
Imposing a $10,000 fine on Utah residents is definitely a way to force people to stop and think before they continue reckless behavior during this pandemic.
In addition to imposing a hefty fine on people who host social events, he requires all Utah residents, employees, and patrons to wear masks. Masks are required in public spaces and when within six feet of someone else.
Since Utah’s recent increase in infections, Herbert changed his position on mandating masks. At first, he did not require residents to wear a mask. Herbert hopes his proactive measures will lessen the strain this virus is putting on his state.
Herbert told Utah residents:
We cannot afford to debate this issue any longer
He also informed residents that the Utah Labor Commission was prepared to issue fines if businesses did not follow the mask mandate.
There does not appear to be a mask mandate on Utah residents when mingling with family members inside of the same home.
Other States Are Following Suit With Restrictions
The U.S. has amassed more than 11 million cases since the onset of COVID-19. The numbers are continuing to rise, and government officials are taking action to slow the virus’s spread until a vaccine is approved.
Utah is not the only state revising statewide restrictions to deal with the rising virus infections.
In Washington, Gov. Jay Inslee requires residents to limit the number of people gathering inside. He is also prohibiting indoor dining for bars and restaurants on Wednesday, Nov. 18. They will, however, be allowed to dine outdoors and offer carry out services.
California has gone as far as to impose a two-hour time limit on outdoor holiday gatherings.
North Dakota requires all residents to wear a mask. Texas canceled sporting games, and Illinois is instituting a 30 day stay at home order starting Monday, Nov. 16.
What Is the Big Deal About Wearing a Mask
Psychologists give a gamut of reasons why people refuse the idea of a face covering. Of the list of reasons, fear, control, and politics play the biggest part in how masks are perceived.
The fear of face coverings being the new normal is hard for many to fathom. Letting go of how things used to be and accepting how things are, and — how things may be forever— is scary.
People also have a fear of being controlled. Some think that other mandates may follow suit if the government is allowed to require face coverings.
Also, political affiliation has been a driving force during this pandemic. Most people mimic the behavior of their political leaders. Trump supporters typically gather without masks because of Trump’s outward disdain for them.
He has mocked others for wearing them. Trump was reportedly infected with COVID-19 and recovered without incident.
Unfortunately, putting the burden of mask enforcement on citizens and businesses have proven deadly. In Michigan, a security guard was shot to death for enforcing a mask mandate for entering Family Dollar.
There have been other instances of verbal altercations that have ensued because of people refusing to wear masks. A few people have even spit and wiped their noses onto others for being asked to comply with mask-wearing guidelines.
The U.S. is slated to receive 20 million doses of vaccinations by the end of this year. In 2021, 500 million to 1 billion doses are expected to be available worldwide. Moderna, a biotech company, provided these projections and claimed their vaccine is 94.5 percent effective.
The United States has documented 11.1 million cases and 246,083 deaths due to COVID-19, according to data provided by The New York Times on Monday, November 16, 2020.
Utah and other states are placing tough restrictions on its residents to alleviate some of its healthcare system’s stress. If followed, officials hope it significantly reduces virus infections and saves lives — especially with the onset of the cold and flu season.
Written by Sheree Bynum
Edited by Cathy Milne-Ware
The Washington Post: Utah governor declares emergency, issues mask mandate: ‘We cannot afford to debate this issue’; Andrea Salcedo
The New York Times: See Coronavirus Restrictions and Mask Mandates for All 50 States
Los Angeles Magazine: What Is It About Wearing a Mask That’s Such a Problem for Some People?; Brittany Martin
CBS News: Some states impose new restrictions as U.S. tops 11 million COVID-19 cases
NPR: Moderna’s COVID-19 Vaccine Shines In Clinical Trial; Joe Palca
Featured Image and Top Image Courtesy of Justin Henry’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
First Inset Image Courtesy of The National Guard’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Second Inset Image Courtesy of Gilbert Mercier’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License