Live Mic: How far can government go to stop coronavirus pandemic?

Mar 17, 2020, 4:59 PM
government stop coronavirus...
Residents of Woodland Hills, with the help of volunteers from all over the state, pile up sandbags in preparation for the flood. September 30, 2018. (KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — Self-quarantine, shelter in place, shut down all dine-in establishments, schools, and universities. Don’t forget–no congregating in groups larger than 10 people.

All good advice to stop the spread of a contagion, but how far is too far under the Constitution?

Lee Lonsberry pointed out that some directives handed down from the federal, state and local governments include the words “advise,” “recommend,” “suggest,” “voluntary,” etc. but exclude the words “compulsory,” “mandatory,” “required,” etc.

Utah counties, Daggett, Duchesne, and Uintah were advising residents to restrict all non-essential travel outside their community, but they weren’t enforcing restrictions.

“In an effort to slow the spread of COVID-19 throughout the state, we are asking residents to strongly reconsider any recreational, leisure, and non-essential work-related travel that will take them outside of our communities,” TriCounty Health Officer Jordan Mathis said.

Related: Travel advisory for Utah counties

Voluntary vs. Mandatory

On his show Live Mic, Lee Lonsberry spoke with Derek Monson, vice president of policy at the Sutherland Institute, about just how far the government can go to impose limits on individuals during the coronavirus pandemic.

Lee asked Monson what he thought of the government using a voluntary approach to stop the spread of COVID-19 instead of imposing mandatory measures.

“It’s a hopeful sign that the system is working,” Monson said. “We’re not China where it’s expected that the government is going to come in and just take over everything. It’s America where we actually like to cooperate together in a private, voluntary way.

“Our system is set up…to work with people, rather than imposing our will upon them. And help people figure this out in a voluntary way that actually leads to the kind of solutions we need,” Monson continued.

When it is a voluntary action, people tend to cooperate and help each other out, Monson said.

“I agree one-hundred percent,” Lee replied.

Give someone the opportunity to be a partner, instead of an adversary, grants a person a sense of ownership for the success, Lee said.

“If you’re told to do something, because you felt compelled to do it, then you don’t have a sense of responsibility for the outcome,” Lee said.

“That’s right,” Monson responded. “It actually creates the hope that we can do more above and beyond what the bare minimum might be.”

People do more volunteering in a partnership with government, instead of being compelled to do something by the force of government, Monson said.

Live Mic with Lee Lonsberry can be heard weekdays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:00 p.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app

Today’s Top Stories


FILE - A Montana man was sentenced to three years in prison for his role in the Capitol riot. (AP P...
The Associated Press

Montana man gets 3 years in prison for role in Capitol riot

A Montana man will spend three years in federal prison for his role in the Jan. 6, 2021, riot at the U.S Capitol.
2 days ago
Dozens of residents were displaced after fire at a low income apartment complex in Richfield, Utah....
Mark Jones

American Red Cross of Utah seeks volunteers in central Utah

The American Red Cross of Utah is seeking volunteers in central Utah after a fire in Richfield earlier this week displaced 35 families.
2 days ago
On Thanksgiving Day, Crave Cookies donated to the Utah County Jail and The Salvation Army hosted me...
Waverly Golden

Thanksgiving Day donations and volunteering

On Thanksgiving Day, Crave Cookies donated to the Utah County Jail and The Salvation Army hosted meal preparation and delivery to Utah families.
2 days ago
Gail Halvorsen, the Berlin Candy Bomber, poses for a photo in the backyard of his Provo home days b...
Waverly Golden

Utahn helps non-profit with modern day “Candy Bomber” operation

In memory of "The Candy Bomber," a fundraiser hopes to supply Christmas presents to refugee children in Berlin and Ukraine.
4 days ago
A duck swims in the pond at Liberty Park in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, Nov. 25, 2020. Photo credi...
Mark Jones

Pond at Liberty Park drained for necessary repairs

The pond at Liberty Park has been drained for needed repairs. It is expected repairs on the pond should be completed by the end of December.
5 days ago
FILE: Former President Donald Trump, seen here on May 28, filed his paperwork on November 15 establ...

Garland names special counsel to lead Trump-related probes

The special counsel announced on Friday will oversee the investigation into the presence of classified documents at former President Donald Trump's Florida estate.
9 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Happy joyful smiling casual satisfied woman learning and communicates in sign language online using...

The best tools for Deaf and hard-of-hearing workplace success

Here are some of the best resources to make your workplace work better for Deaf and hard-of-hearing employees.
Team supporters celebrating at a tailgate party...

8 Delicious Tailgate Foods That Require Zero Prep Work

In a hurry? These 8 tailgate foods take zero prep work, so you can fuel up and get back to what matters most: getting hyped for your favorite
christmas decorations candles in glass jars with fir on a old wooden table...
Western Nut Company

12 Mason Jar Gift Ideas for the 12 Days of Christmas [with recipes!]

There are so many clever mason jar gift ideas to give something thoughtful to your neighbors or friends. Read our 12 ideas to make your own!
wide shot of Bear Lake with a person on a stand up paddle board...

Pack your bags! Extended stays at Bear Lake await you

Work from here! Read our tips to prepare for your extended stay, whether at Bear Lake or somewhere else nearby.
young boy with hearing aid...

Accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing

These different types of accommodations for students who are deaf and hard of hearing can help them succeed in school.
Young woman receiving laser treatment...
Form Derm Spa

How facial plastic surgery and skincare are joining forces

Facial plastic surgery is not only about looking good but about feeling good too. The medical team at Form Spa are trained to help you reach your aesthetic outcomes through surgery and through skincare and dermatology, too.
Live Mic: How far can government go to stop coronavirus pandemic?