Brad Wilson, Speaker of the Utah House of Representatives, issued the following statement:
“In the months since we have encouraged Utahns to be diligent in practicing social distancing and wearing a mask in public, it has become evident these small sacrifices in comfort have an outsized, positive impact on our public health.
“I share the governor’s strong concern with the rapid increase in COVID-19 cases in Orem and Provo, which trace overwhelmingly to university students now living in that area. The restrictions of Orange status will have a real and negative impact on businesses in those cities and the families they support, which is all the more unfortunate because of how avoidable this spike was.
“The citizens of our state invest heavily in our universities, which serve as the training grounds for those who will lead our state in the years and decades to come, and we rightfully call upon our college students to rise to the occasion to protect themselves, vulnerable members of our community, and our economy.
“These changes to Orange status for parts of Utah County, while Rich County transitions to Green status, highlight the reason I have not supported a statewide mask mandate. Such a policy imposes a one-size-fits-all solution when a more targeted approach, led by local leaders whenever possible, is effective without forcing counties where cases are lower to operate under the heavy hand of government.
“Like all Utahns, we are anxious to have life return to normal. In many respects, our state has made tremendous progress in combating the pandemic. However, achieving our collective goal remains elusive when we see inconsistent commitment from key segments of our community. We are in this together and I encourage all Utahns to do their part as we redouble our efforts to decrease our daily case rate.”