SALT LAKE CITY — Utah Governor Gary Herbert and Lt. Governor Spencer Cox have blasted the public homecoming of several hundred missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints at the Salt Lake International Airport.
1,500 LDS missionaries returned home Sunday from serving in the Philippines due to the coronavirus situation there.
"It's kind of a mix of emotions," said Elder Gavin McMullin. "It's nice to see my family and all but at the same time it's sad to leave the Philippines."
Airport spokeswoman, Nancy Volmer, said Monday as more missionaries are expected to fly home in the coming dayss, crowds are urged to stay home.
“ I certainly understand that everyone’s excited to see their loved one and to greet them and to welcome them home,: Volmer said. "But you know we’re in a different world right now with the pandemic, we really have to be careful and really ask that only two individuals come out for missionary.”
The church is asking the same from its members and posted a new article on its website.
Governor Herbert sent out a tweet Sunday night that said:
"As missionaries return home due to the spread of COVID-19 across the globe, they should not be met by big groups of family or friends. Large welcome parties are dangerous and could greatly increase the spread of coronavirus in our state."
Lt. Governor Cox also tweeted regarding the reception for the missionaries:
He said he ws "Really disappointed in the behavior we saw from missionary families at the SLC airport tonight. I get it, I’ve been there (and still have a child serving), but this is unacceptable. In a time of shared sacrifice, we must do better to save lives."
The church is asking missionaries to self-isolate for 14 days regardless of where they traveled from.