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Gov. Herbert issues new emergency declaration for COVID-19

Gov. Gary Herbert issued a new emergency declaration for COVID-19 in Utah on Thursday, Aug. 20, 2020. Photo: KSL NewsRadio via Facebook

SALT LAKE CITY — Gov. Gary Herbert issued a new COVID-19 emergency declaration for Utah on Thursday, as lawmakers continued to debate the limits of his executive powers. 

Herbert cited the potential loss of federal funds as a reason to establish a new state of emergency. 

“Without this legal status, the state will lose access to significant federal funding. The nature of a pandemic is fluid and requires constant adaptation,” Herbert said during his monthly news conference. “We are still very much in an emergency situation, and I will continue to work as governor to protect lives and livelihoods.”

Members of the Utah Legislature convened Thursday in a special session to address federal CARES Act funding disbursement and education funding. Originally, they also planned to consider extending the current emergency declaration. 

Instead, House Speaker Brad Wilson said lawmakers encouraged the Herbert to consider other emergency options. 

“The reason why is, I think it’s a good time to level-set and reset whether or not we need to be in a state of emergency, and what the conditions and parameters of that are,” Wilson said.