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Utahns weigh in on Gov. Herbert’s new emergency COVID-19 mandates

FILE (Gov. Gary Herbert speaking at a press conference one day after he issued his emergency declaration. Credit: Scott G. Winterton, Deseret News, Nov. 9, 2020)

SALT LAKE CITY – Mask mandates and mandatory COVID-19 tests for college students.  Those are two parts of Governor Herbert’s emergency declaration to slow the spread of the virus.  How are Utahns responding to these new emergency orders?  Many Salt Lake residents are giving them the “thumbs up,” but there are some who are pushing back.

For those who are recovering from the virus, the COVID-19 mandates testing seems like a very good thing.  One woman, who didn’t want to give her name, says she got infected and didn’t feel any symptoms for several days.  Before she felt ill and got tested, she followed her normal routine, and now she wonders if she was spreading it to others without knowing.

“At that time, I did not know that we had COVID, and I went to the store.  I felt guilty,” she says.

Eventually, she says her whole family got sick.

“My dad got it, and he was severe, but we had faith that we were going to be OK.  Then, my husband got it and he was sick, as well, but he recovered after the second or third week.”

Other people who spoke with KSL say the governor should have enacted his mandates a long time ago.  One man who recently moved to Utah from Oregon says that state is using stricter methods to slow the spread, and those methods appear to be working more effectively.

“Oregon is now up to a thousand cases [per day] and they’re talking about shutting down the whole state, again,” he says.

One man says he hopes people will follow the new mask mandate sooner rather than later.  He lives in Utah County, where county officials already enacted a mask mandate because of the spiking number of cases.  He says it took a while, but the mandate was eventually accepted by most of the people he sees, and he hopes the same thing will happen in other parts of the state.

(Dozens of protestors outside the governor’s mansion. Credit: Matt Rascon, KSL TV, Nov. 9, 2020)

“For the first couple of days, many people were not taking it seriously.  Then, a week and a half to two weeks later, somebody must have said something because every employee in the place I went was wearing it, whereas as before, one person was,” he says.

Of course, not everyone supports the emergency mandates.  Dozens of people protested outside the governor’s mansion, carrying signs saying things like “Tyranny spreads COVID-19,” and “It’s OK to admit when you’re wrong.”

Others say they have serious doubts about how effective the governor’s orders will be.

 “You can’t stop the virus.  It’s like a cold… you can’t stop it,” he says.