SALT LAKE CITY — Governor Gary Herbert has said Utah's Department of Health will direct Salt Lake and Utah county health officials to overturn orders prohibiting groups of 10 or more people from gathering.
In a statement posted on Twitter, the governor said the state was not consulted by the counties.
The State of Utah was not consulted on the new orders issued by the Salt Lake and Utah County Departments of Health. The Utah Department of Health has directed these orders be repealed immediately.
— Gov. Gary Herbert (@GovHerbert) March 20, 2020
The governor went on to say: "We call upon all people to act rationally and with the good faith and commonsense that has defined our state and her people since its beginning."
But the Salt Lake County Health Department said it was issuing the order to be consistent with directives from Utah's Department of Health to limit gatherings to fewer than 10 people to prevent the spread of novel coronavirus. President Trump and the governor have made similar recommendations.
The Salt Lake County Health Department said that by law it cannot be less restrictive than a state order and made their changes to match the state's. The order is in effect for 30 days. Violations are punishable with a class B misdemeanor charge.
The state of Utah has exempted grocery stores, but the restriction will apply to workplaces.
"The order is consistent with federal recommendation and is intended to keep people at least 6 feet away from each other to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Workplaces can have more than 10 people in their building but they should be separated into different rooms or by physical space," Nicholas Rupp, a spokesman for Salt Lake County Health said in a text message to FOX 13. "The goal is to prevent one person’s respiratory droplets from another person’s immediate vicinity."
See the order here:
Salt Lake County health officials have been publishing an FAQ on what applies.
The Utah County Health Department issued a similar restriction on Wednesday.
The move by both health departments represents some of the most severe restrictions in the state to stop the spread of COVID-19. People have been urged to stay home to avoid spreading it, and practice "social distancing" by remaining six feet away from others.
Because of the Salt Lake County Health Department's order, the 3rd District Court issued its own order delaying court hearings for at least 14 days.
Read the order here: