Dave & Dujanovic: Does Utah’s stay-at-home order need sharper teeth?

Apr 7, 2020, 5:29 PM
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall issued her fifth emergency proclamation stay-at-home order...
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall has enacted a second evening curfew for Salt Lake City. (Photo Screen grab, Twitter)
(Photo Screen grab, Twitter)

SALT LAKE CITY — Does Utah need to now join the majority of states with an enforceable order to stay home, armed with fines and/or jail time for those residents who violate it?

As of Monday, 43 states and Washington, D.C., have issued stay-at-home or shelter-in-place orders for all residents.

No statewide mandates

Seven states — all lead by Republican governors — have not declared statewide orders, even after the U.S. has reported more than 360,000 confirmed cases across all 50 states and more than 12,000 deaths.

The seven states holding off on statewide orders are: Arkansas, North and South Dakota, Nebraska, Utah, Wyoming, and Iowa.

Dr. Anthony Fauci, the top U.S. infectious disease expert, says all states should have statewide orders to stay at home.

On issuing a statewide compulsory order to stay at home, Utah’s Gov. Gary Herbert said: “We think we have enough fear about this without adding to it,” he said, suggesting a voluntary directive was a “more positive route,” according to CBS News.

Five counties in the Utah issued stay-at-home orders: Davis, Salt Lake, Summit, Tooele and Wasatch.

KSL’s Lee Lonsberry joined Dave Noriega and Debbie Dujanovic to talk about the political factors at play as Herbert makes a decision about a stronger stay-at-home message.

Echoing the call for inserting a “force of law” component in the governor’s directive is Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall.

Favors voluntary compliance

But Lee said he disagrees that the directive be made mandatory and  punitive.

“Here in Utah we are a very free people. We cling to our freedom. If we are to surrender those liberties, then we are not taking ownership of the results,” said Lee. “We have a relatively low fatality count [from COVID-19].

“If you listen to state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn, she’s saying that our social distancing is working, which may be a result of our younger demographics in Utah.

“We are doing better than some of the states where these orders have been put in place. Where the governors have said, ‘You will be arrested and fined if you violated these orders.’ We’re not at that point in Utah, yet we’re yielding good results. I think that there’s good reason to stay the course.

“Some states are saying  they don’t want to enforce their orders? That it’s a last resort. Why have a law in place if you’re not going to enforce it?” Dave asked.

“They can say they don’t want to enforce it. They can say it is not our intention to root out and arrest people, but it is in place. That fear exists. It is then an accomplishment of the municipality and not the people.

“In my mind, that’s a crucial distinction. When we are able to take ownership and responsibility for the good results we are yielding, relatively here in the state of Utah.

“There is good unity that comes from that. There is good motivation to keep doing what is right. If it’s a dictate from on high, we’re less likely to conform. And we’re certainly less likely to feel good about the outcome.”

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.

Local resources

State of Utah:

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line 18004567707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States

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

Dave & Dujanovic can be heard weekdays from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on KSL NewsRadio. Users can find the show on the KSL NewsRadio website and app, a.s well as Apple Podcasts and Google Play.

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Dave & Dujanovic: Does Utah’s stay-at-home order need sharper teeth?