COLUMN: From the ballot box: Gov. Herbert needs to step up

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The Stay Safe, Stay Home directive is not enough.

People need to stay home. You have heard this request again and again and again; however, not everyone gets the message.

Now, as the COVID-19 death rate continues to climb, it is absolutely necessary that Gov. Gary Herbert issues the official state-wide order.

The current directive, issued on March 27, lacks certain necessary precautions. In fact, it encourages Utahns to get takeout three times a week and only suggests these insufficient limitations until April 13.

Herbert is allowing the situation to get worse and causing unnecessary deaths by not taking the situation seriously enough to issue this order.

On March 24, Herbert said, “I don’t think we’re at that point of having everybody quarantined to their home. We still are looking at people implementing social distancing… it’s a balancing act of we want to protect the health and welfare of the people and yet we want to make sure that the economy doesn’t completely tank either.”

On March 27, the New York Times reported that there were two Utah counties within the top 20 nationwide that had people continuing to travel.

As of April 2, only four Utah counties were under a stay at home order issued by their mayors. As of April 5, Utah has 1,605 known cases and eight direct deaths.

Without a stricter order in place and stronger leadership by our state representatives, these numbers will only get bigger. Only more people will die.

There are a total of 41 states with a stay at home order implemented. The message is pretty standard across the board: stay home unless it is necessary. Food trips, emergency care, exercise outings and essential business are allowed to stay open.

While this is not much different from the current request, the influence of the order would finally help citizens recognize the seriousness of the situation.

Utah cannot continue to ignore the pleas of the nation’s top infectious disease expert; it cannot keep its ear to the president who once claimed, “It will all disappear.”

The Utah House Democrats have repeatedly asked Herbert to make the order reality, but, Herbert, safety should not be a partisan issue.

This is not a debate between right or wrong, facts or feelings, republicans or democrats. This is not a time to question the severity of our situation.

Mass graves are being built. Emergency medical stations are being established. Wal-Mart stopped being open 24 hours a day.

This is a fight for life or death. It is time for Herbert to take responsibility.