SALT LAKE CITY – Governor Gary Herbert has issued an executive order, requiring people aged over 18 who enter the state to complete a travel declaration in a new effort to slow the spread of the new corona virus.
FOX 13 was first reported in an inbound trip monitoring discussion Wednesday morning.
“This trip statement will ask travelers if they have tested COVID-19 specifically in the last 14 days and what the test results are. It will ask if they are currently experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 and to specify where they are I have traveled before they come to Utah, “Governor Herbert said at a press conference.
The Utah Department of Transportation intends to use “geo-fencing” at nine different entry points into states along I-80, I-15, I-70 and several state roads. People who travel across country lines will get text messages through the emergency warning system. That will direct them to the website where they will be asked to fill out a travel declaration, UDOT Executive Director Carlos Braceras said.
The travel statement is voluntary and does not carry a penalty for failure to complete it. However, Braceras said the system would let them monitor how many vehicles were suitable.
“We don’t see this as an attempt to punish people. We see this as an effort to inform and collect data,” he told reporters.
At Salt Lake City International Airport, people who arrive on inbound flights will be given a card where they will also fill out the same travel declaration, Mayor Erin Mendenhall said.
“Everyone who enters the state is still a new opportunity for the spread of the virus, whether they are residents or visitors,” he told reporters.
Mayor Mendenhall said UDOT also held a touchless temperature sensor at the airport, but had not arrived.
After a dramatic surge in cases in Summit County, the local government was there issued an order to stay in the state’s first home and told visitors to leave and those who had second homes in the Park City area to stay away.
Recently, the governor asked the US State Department to close the Zion National Park after a large influx of tourists out of the country in the middle of a pandemic. Political leaders in southwest Utah have called for closure, saying that two weeks ago, they documented 9,000 visitors to the park and 70% of them were from out of state. They are afraid that rural hospitals and clinics cannot handle the increase in new corona virus cases.
On Wednesday, the Utah Department of Health reported 1,846 positive cases of COVID-19 in Utah. The state has received 36,116 test results again. Since the beginning of the outbreak, 158 have been hospitalized in Utah and there are now 13 fatalities.
While his executive order was directed at people outside the state, the governor did express concern that Utah could make matters worse. He said with the Easter weekend, Spring Break and better weather, the temptation for many people to go out and travel was very high. The governor urged people to stay at home to stop the spread of the virus. He said only important trips were allowed based on his direction (and many orders from the local health department). People can still go out for a walk, but they should avoid gathering in large groups and exercising to maintain social distance.
“Together we can get through this,” Governor Herbert said.
Mayor Mendenhall said for the most part, people obeyed local health orders. Salt Lake City has created a web site for people to report violations of social orders that distance and stay at home.
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