Social Distancing, Shelter-In-Place or Lockdowns?

This past week Governor Gary Herbert asked Utahns to shelter-in-place. However, some counties in Utah have decided to take further steps by issuing mandatory lockdowns.

Salt Lake City Mayor Ering Mendenhall issued a mandatory lockdown of the city along with Herbert’s optional order. In addition to Salt Lake, Summit County, Wasatch County and Davis County issued mandatory lockdowns on March 26, March 30 and April 1 respectively.

Iron County is among the counties that are currently recommending social distancing and shelter-in-place.

The statewide shelter-in-place order boils down to the governor asking Utahns to stay home. Residents of the state are asked to not go outdoors or interact with people outside of their household unless they have essential travel.

As for the mandatory lockdowns, residents of these counties are required to stay indoors unless they are essential workers or have essential travel. Those that are found breaking this order are at risk of being charged with a class B misdemeanor.

Finally, social distancing is the least strict of the three options for combating the coronavirus. This method only emphasizes staying six feet away from others at all times and avoiding crowds larger than ten people.

Essential travel is defined as travel to care for family, friends or pets,; seeking emergency services,; purchasing medication or food,; and donating blood.

Salt Lake City’s police department assured that workers won’t be arrested for going to work, but encouraged businesses to comply with both Mendenhall and Herbert’s orders.

“We are relying on businesses to take responsibility for their employees and the general public,” the Salt Lake City police department’s statement read. “Every effort should be made to telework.”

In addition, Summit County sheriff’s office has assured that they will not be heavily cracking down on the order.

“No, you’re not locked in your house. No, the sheriff’s office isn’t coming around and checking to see if you’re home. No, the sheriff’s office is not making traffic stops to see where you’re going and why,” said Summit County Sheriff’s Lt. Andrew Wright.

Salt Lake’s mandatory lockdown is in place until April 11 while the statewide shelter-in-place ends on April 13. The Wasatch County lockdown is scheduled to last until April 14. The Summit County and Davis County lockdowns are planned to be in effect until May 1. Each of these orders is subject to change based on how the situation looks further into April.

Herbert said this will only work if people comply with the order. If not, the order could be extended or even made mandatory statewide.

COVID Act Now breaks down the specifics of how each state is handling the current pandemic with nationwide social distancing in place. Along with this, it features the projected hospital overload dates and estimated deaths.

The information is updated every four days and based on the March 27 projections Utah’s hospitals could be overloaded by April 21 if social distancing is the only action taken by government officials. Along with this, there are an estimated 49,000 deaths in Utah alone after three months.

While all of these options have an impact on reducing the spread of the virus, projections place the best results behind sheltering-in-place or even a lockdown. Not only does it potentially save lives, but it also allows hospitals to better care for current and incoming patients.

The results in combating the virus will be at their best if everyone complies and works together to stop the spread of COVID-19. Don’t panic, be safe, wash your hands and practice social distancing or preferably sheltering-in-place.

Story by: Alex Schilling
Photo Courtesy of: Unsplash – Michael Hart, COVID Act Now