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0000017b-652b-d50a-a3ff-f7efb02e0000KPCW's COVID-19 news coverage for Summit County and Wasatch County, Utah. 0000017b-652b-d50a-a3ff-f7efb02f0000You can also visit the Utah Department of Health, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and World Health Organization websites for additional information.

Gov. Herbert to Issue Another State of Emergency Despite Legislators' Objections

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Pool Photos Daily COVID Briefing
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Utah Gov. Gary Herbert stepped away from the legislature’s special session Thursday morning to address members of the Utah media for his monthly press conference, where he said even though the legislature is against it, he will issue another emergency declaration to take effect at midnight.

 

The new 30-day declaration will go into effect as the dated one expires.

 

Emergency declarations are used by the executive branch to quickly deal with emergencies like fires, floods, and earthquakes, without having to hash out differences with the legislative branch which Herbert said can take weeks. All 50 states and the federal government currently have such declarations in place to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

“So, if we were not to do this, we would be the only state of the 50 that would not have emergency declaration in place for our state during this pandemic,” he said. “Again, I think the very nature of a pandemic it's unpredictable and until we get a vaccine, we would probably have that kind of a situation. We are certainly getting into more normal opportunities that we don't have to have quite the knee jerk reaction that we've had in the past and response time does lengthen out. But we certainly don't want to risk losing help from the federal government by not having an emergency declaration at the top of that list is the funding for our national guardsmen.”

 

The state of emergency makes Utah eligible to receive federal funding to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. That funding, the governor pointed out, comes from taxpayer dollars. Herbert said he can’t predict the future so doesn’t know if he will continue to issue a new declaration every 30 days. He says he will continue to work with the legislature to resolve their differences over the declaration. 

 

As schools gets back into session, Herbert sked that students and school staff honor his statewide mask mandate.

 

“At this time of pandemic, we all need to respect each other,” he said. “I think that's why you wear the mask, by the way, showing respect and concern for your neighbor not because government is making you do it, but because it's the right thing to do. And I want to ask everybody that's involved this effort, let's have empathy for each other, let's have mutual respect, let’s be kind... Again, sometimes we have a disagreement on policy on what's taking place. I understand that, but that doesn't mean we shouldn’t show respect and have a united and focused effort of us working together. That's really how we're going to get through this.” 

 

The state he says has made a significant effort for teachers to have the personal protective equipment they need as they return to the classroom. The state is offering K95 masks and face shields to all teachers. If there are any shortages in distribution, he said teachers to talk to their principals to make sure they have the protection they need. 

 

“We have enough and will get more if we needed and we appreciate again those are helping us to open up our schools.”

 

Calling himself the guy who appreciates local government making the decisions he says he supports Salt Lake County’s decision to extend the mask requirement through the end of the year – even though he’s unwilling to let local school districts make that decision for their students.

 

“I prefer the people who are closest to the those who have elected them - whether that be the mayors, the County commissioners, just say our people here - this is our unique circumstance and here's what we think should be our policy,” Herbert said. “So, working in conjunction with the state health department in our overall goal to slow and stop the spread this coronavirus is important. And if they're not doing something that people want, they'll show their concern at the next election. So again, having them to have skin in the game, having to make the decisions I think is the appropriate way to do it. And if Salt Lake County wants to extend the mask mandate, which they have chosen to do, I think that's the appropriate way to do it - rather than me tell them that they have to do it.”

 

Those who violate the mask order could face a class B misdemeanor, but it will be up to school leaders to decide if they want to enforce the rule aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

Utah Gov.Gary Herbert stepped away from the legislature’s special session Thursday morning to address members of the Utah media for his monthly press conference, where he said even though the legislature is against it, he will issue another emergency declaration to take effect at midnight.

 

The new 30-day declaration will go into effect as the dated one expires.

 

Emergency declarations are used by the executive branch to quickly deal with emergencies like fires, floods, and earthquakes, without having to hash out differences with the legislative branch which Herbert said can take weeks. All 50 states and the federal government currently have such declarations in place to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. 

 

“So, if we were not to do this, we would be the only state of the 50 that would not have emergency declaration in place for our state during this pandemic,” he said. “Again, I think the very nature of a pandemic it's unpredictable and until we get a vaccine, we would probably have that kind of a situation. We are certainly getting into more normal opportunities that we don't have to have quite the knee jerk reaction that we've had in the past and response time does lengthen out. But we certainly don't want to risk losing help from the federal government by not having an emergency declaration at the top of that list is the funding for our national guardsmen.”

 

The state of emergency makes Utah eligible to receive federal funding to deal with the COVID-19 crisis. That funding, the governor pointed out, comes from taxpayer dollars. Herbert said he can’t predict the future so doesn’t know if he will continue to issue a new declaration every 30 days. He says he will continue to work with the legislature to resolve their differences over the declaration. 

 

As schools gets back into session, Herbert sked that students and school staff honor his statewide mask mandate.

 

“At this time of pandemic, we all need to respect each other,” he said. “I think that's why you wear the mask, by the way, showing respect and concern for your neighbor not because government is making you do it, but because it's the right thing to do. And I want to ask everybody that's involved this effort, let's have empathy for each other, let's have mutual respect, let’s be kind... Again, sometimes we have a disagreement on policy on what's taking place. I understand that, but that doesn't mean we shouldn’t show respect and have a united and focused effort of us working together. That's really how we're going to get through this.” 

 

The state he says has made a significant effort for teachers to have the personal protective equipment they need as they return to the classroom. The state is offering K95 masks and face shields to all teachers. If there are any shortages in distribution, he said teachers to talk to their principals to make sure they have the protection they need. 

 

“We have enough and will get more if we needed and we appreciate again those are helping us to open up our schools.”

 

Calling himself the guy who appreciates local government making the decisions he says he supports Salt Lake County’s decision to extend the mask requirement through the end of the year – even though he’s unwilling to let local school districts make that decision for their students.

 

“I prefer the people who are closest to the those who have elected them - whether that be the mayors, the County commissioners, just say our people here - this is our unique circumstance and here's what we think should be our policy,” Herbert said. “So, working in conjunction with the state health department in our overall goal to slow and stop the spread this coronavirus is important. And if they're not doing something that people want, they'll show their concern at the next election. So again, having them to have skin in the game, having to make the decisions I think is the appropriate way to do it. And if Salt Lake County wants to extend the mask mandate, which they have chosen to do, I think that's the appropriate way to do it - rather than me tell them that they have to do it.”

 

Those who violate the mask order could face a class B misdemeanor, but it will be up to school leaders to decide if they want to enforce the rule aimed at slowing the spread of the virus.

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