SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 23, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Both The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and the Salt Lake International Airport are offering guidelines to missionary families after large groups thronged to the airport Sunday as some 1,600 members returned from the Philippines.
COVID-19 is the reason the Church is bringing the missionaries home, where they are expected to self-quarantine for two weeks and phone their health care provider if they experience any symptoms of the potentially deadly virus.
After viewing a video clip of the families at the airport, waiting to greet each returning missionary, Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox expressed his thoughts via Twitter.
“Really disappointed in the behavior we saw from missionary families at the SLC airport tonight,” Cox, who heads Utah’s coronavirus task force, tweeted. “I get it, I’ve been there (and still have a child serving), but this is unacceptable. In a time of shared sacrifice, we must do better to save lives. #SocialDistancing.”
The LDS Church released the following statement:
“As many missionaries return home in the coming weeks due to the COVID-19 outbreak, they will be asked to self-isolate for 14 days, regardless of where they traveled from. This is an important precaution in accordance with guidelines from the World Health Organization and the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), even though many of these missionaries have already been self-isolating or come from areas where the virus is not as prevalent.
“Parents or guardians should go to the airport alone to meet a returning missionary and practice safe social distancing while there. That way, the missionary is able to properly begin self-isolation. Upon returning home, missionaries should strictly follow the self-isolation recommendations of the CDC, which include limiting contact with others and avoiding leaving their homes for any reason. They are encouraged to stay in a well-ventilated room, preferably alone. If that isn’t possible, the missionary should stay six feet away from others in the room. They should use good hygiene and regularly wash their hands. If a missionary develops any symptoms of a respiratory illness, they should contact a local health provider.
“We ask families, friends and community members to help support and encourage missionaries to follow these guidelines to help prevent any potential spread of illness and to keep missionaries and those around them safe.”
The Salt Lake City International Airport also posted on Facebook Monday morning:
“The SLC International Airport asks anyone coming to the airport to greet a missionary, friend, family or other, to limit the number to two individuals. It is critical for the health and safety of all, that missionary families follow this request.”
Earlier Sunday, Utah Gov. Gary Herbert tweeted:
“As missionaries return home due to the spread of COVID-19 across the globe, they should not be met by big groups of family or friends. Large welcome parties are dangerous and could greatly increase the spread of coronavirus in our state.”
And: “Parents, please go to the airport alone to pick up your returning missionaries, and help them strictly follow all self-isolation procedures for their first 14 days at home.”
For more ways to protect yourself during the coronavirus pandemic, click here.