SALT LAKE CITY — People across the state of Utah are being asked to stay home as much as possible in order to help slow the spread of COVID-19. Gov. Gary Herbert issued a “Stay Safe, Stay Home” directive Friday. Shortly after, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall signed her fifth emergency proclamation to implement the directive and take it a step further by putting the force of law behind it.
Salt Lake County is also expected to take additional steps beyond the Governor’s directive.
“We’re receiving many questions about the next steps for Salt Lake County and its response to COVID-19. Mayor Wilson and the Salt Lake County Health Department are working to create a public health order that will create clarity around the next level of protective actions to slow the spread of COVID-19 and limit impact to the economy. We will make an announcement Sunday,” a spokesperson for Salt Lake County said.
While Salt Lake City does have the force of law behind the proclamation, Mayor Mendenhall said she hopes people will voluntarily comply and officers are not out to issue citations. City leaders are still looking through what resources they have for enforcement, she said.
“I think for our city specifically, we have some employees like our parking enforcement, who aren’t doing a lot of parking enforcement right now, I could direct them to go out to park spaces and make sure that if people are congregating too closely that they could go out and issue reminders. Not even a written reminder, just verbally talk to people from a social distance,” she said.
The hope is that everyone remembers why these steps have to be taken, Mayor Mendenhall said.
“Know that even though this is a painful thing for us to go through as a community right now, it’s better that we do this now than wait and it prolong the economic impact and the public health impact ultimately,” she said.
City, county and state leaders have said they will continue to watch the impact of COVID-19 on Utah and continue to implement any additional plans and procedures as needed.
“I think we need to make Utah-specific decisions that are based on our infrastructure and our testing that’s happening,” Mayor Mendenhall said.
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