The governor of Utah has declared a new state of emergency, which includes a statewide mask mandate and the pausing of all high school sports.
Governor Gary Herbert issued the new restrictions over concerns of rising case counts and a surge in hospitalizations.
Along with the mask mandate, the new order limits social gatherings to people in the same households and places a hold on all school extracurricular activities, including athletic intramural events.
Due to the alarming rate of COVID infections within our state, tonight I issued a new state of emergency with several critical changes to our response. These changes are not shutting down our economy, but are absolutely necessary to save lives and hospital capacity. #utpol pic.twitter.com/BuSNBsCbiz— Gov. Gary Herbert (@GovHerbert) November 9, 2020
The new restrictions will take effect on Monday, Nov. 23, just a few days before Thanksgiving.
Professional and college sports can continue, as can any high school playoffs as long as coaches and athletes test negative. Crowds at these events will also have to be limited.
“Utah is open for business. You can still shop, dine in or carry out, exercise, worship and recreate, and many other things,” Herbert said in a video message. “We are just saying stay within your household group whenever possible, particularly for the next two weeks.”
Utah is now averaging more than 2,000 cases a day, and 46 people died of the virus last week, according to The Salt Lake Tribune. On Sunday, the state reported 424 active COVID-19 hospitalizations, a number that has risen from 299 two weeks ago.