SOUTHEAST UTAH, March 18, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — The Southeast Utah Public Health Department is telling non-local “social distancers” who want to commune with nature to do so elsewhere.
The SEUPHD, seeking to avoid COVID-19 cases in the area, has ordered the closure of campground and lodging facilities around Moab to outside travelers. The order went into effect Tuesday night, and lasts 30 days, after which time it will be reassessed, the SEUHD statement says.
“Effective 10 p.m. March 17, 2020, all overnight and short turn lodging facilities (including but not limited to hotels, motels, condos, townhomes, guest homes, RV parks and all camping on public of private land) within Carbon, Emery and and Grand counties may only check-in, rent or least to essential visitors and primary residents,” the order says, in part.
Essential visitors are defined as those coming to the area to work.
“Essential visitors and primary residents may utilize public lands for primitive camping purposes. No camp shall be located within 200 yards of another camp and no camp shall consist of more than 10 people.”
The order also called for other practices common around the state, some suggested by the Utah Health Department, such as a temporary end to dine-in eating and the closure of public gathering places, among other things. That, and SEUHD officials’ desire to keep the area free of COVID-19 cases.
The order was inspired by Southeast Utah’s identity as a major tourist destination. Many business in Moab, for example, are based on serving the tourist market.
The department subsequently issued a Facebook page Q&A statement, which appears below: