Could Utah Soon Face a Shelter in Place Order Due to Covid-19?

Utah shelter in place

The acceleration of the Covid-19’s spread is unprecedented, forcing cities around the country to respond. Social distancing will prove key in limiting the strain placed on healthcare workers who are already overwhelmed by the flood of patients who are filling emergency rooms.

On March 19, California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a shelter in place order to all Californians. It orders all residents to stay home, except as needed for essential services, and doesn’t have an end date.

On March 25, Idaho Governor Brad Little issued a statewide 21-day stay at home order to all Idahoans. The order is very similar to Newsom’s call for people to stay inside to slow the spread.

Also, on March 25, Utah Governor Gary Herbert issued a shelter in place order to the residents of Summit County. Summit County has been hit hard by the virus and has 103 confirmed cases, according to KUTV. The order prevents non-essential travel to anywhere except grocery stores and hospitals until May 1.

Idaho had 131 confirmed cases at the time of issuing the order. The state of Utah, as of Thursday morning, has 402. If Idaho has already issued the order, could Utah be the next state to shelter in place to slow the virus?

There may be no other option. Critical industry workers in St. George are already being issued travel permits that allow them to travel freely. Why would these permits be distributed if nothing was going to change?

This notice, obtained from a railroad worker by SUU News, states, “The individual in possession of this letter works in Food and Agriculture industry is essential in his or her work activities regardless of the time of day as an employee in a sector that has been deemed by the U.S. Government as critical to the infrastructure of the United States.”

utah shelter in place

If a shelter in place order is issued to the entire state, people will likely flood grocery stores looking for supplies. Everyone needs to have at least a week’s worth of food, but there’s no need to panic buy or hoard items. The food supply chains should remain undisturbed, and there will be enough food to go around.

For people who don’t have enough food to get them through the next few days, they need to stock up. If a statewide declaration were made, it would likely be similar to the Summit County order, so grocery stores will stay open.

Again, panic buying is not necessary. Hoarding medical supplies and food items does more harm than good, but stocking up on a week’s worth of essentials will prove prudent.

This is not a hoax. The COVID-19 situation is not under control. The only chance our healthcare workers have of combatting the virus without working to exhaustion will be through the aggressive practice of social distancing.


Here are some incredibly informative articles that shed light on how serious this crisis is:

How Will the Coronavirus End? – The Atlantic

Flattening A Pandemic’s Curve: Why Staying Home Now Can Save Lives – NPR

How the virus has impacted Summit County – The Salt Lake Tribune

Story by: Connor Sanders
Picture by Pille-Riin Priske on