Nov 10, 2020 - Health

When a red state is overwhelmed

Utah Governor Gary Herbert

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert. Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images

Utah's new coronavirus restrictions — including a statewide mask mandate — are receiving mixed reviews from the state legislature, the Salt Lake City Tribune reports.

Why it matters: Utah implemented the new restrictions in light of a swelling caseload and the threat of hospitals becoming overwhelmed, and may provide an example of what's to come in red states across the U.S.

  • Many of the states currently being hit hardest by the virus have resisted heavy-handed mitigation measures so far.

Driving the news: Republican Gov. Gary Herbert announced the new restrictions on Sunday evening, although they're much more flexible than those in hard-hit states this spring.

  • Shutting down schools and closing some businesses was discussed, but these measures ultimately didn't make it into the restrictions.
  • Also excluded were financial penalties for individuals participating in large gatherings.
  • Fines will be levied on business that don't enforce the statewide mask mandate, and Utahns are encouraged to stay home as much as possible.

What they're saying: "I don't have a problem with asking people to wear a mask, but you don't need to enforce it with penalties and fines," said House Speaker Brad Wilson, a Republican.

  • Other responses were less muted. "This is not acceptable. The Legislature has been sidelined through this entire episode," Rep. Phil Lyman wrote in an email to colleagues. "Please, let's follow South Dakota's lead, not California's."
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