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Utah To Require Travelers Entering the State To Answer COVID-19 Travel Questionnaire

Photo of gary herbert wearing a mask
Francisco Kjolseth
/
The Salt Lake Tribune
Gov. Gary Herbert wears a face mask at a press briefing Wednesday, April 8, 2020, at which he announced new transportation-related measures aiming to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

People traveling to Utah will be asked to fill out an online form and answer questions about their possible exposure to the coronavirus under an order announced Wednesday by Gov. Gary Herbert. 

The survey will ask if travelers have been tested for COVID-19 in the last two weeks, if they are experiencing symptoms and where they have been. 

The data will then be sent to the Utah Department of Health, which can follow up with people who have tested positive and ask them to self-isolate. For people who have symptoms, the department may ask them to get tested. 

“This will allow us [to get] the data to be able to manage those folks that are entering our state and to be able to control the virus,” said Carlos Braceras, executive director of the Utah Department of Transportation.

Drivers entering the state through one of nine hotspots identified by UDOT will be sent a push alert with a link to the questionnaire. At the Salt Lake City airport, workers will hand out cards to travelers with a QR code that takes them to the online form. Other Utah airports may be added in the future. 

Braceras added the state will not enforce the requirement to take the survey and is counting on travelers to do the right thing. 

The survey is expected to roll out by Friday, according to Herbert. 

“Like most things brand new there might be a few glitches as we roll this out,” Herbert said. “But I expect we’ll work through those glitches and this will be a better way for us to help protect the people of Utah and slow the spread of the coronavirus here in the state.”

The Salt Lake City airport used to see roughly 26,000 passengers each day before the coronavirus pandemic, and it now sees just a fraction of that, according to Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall. 

“But each and every person coming into the state is still a new opportunity for the virus to spread whether they are residents or visitors,” Mendenhall said, adding that the survey is an important step to limit that spread, “but these are what I hope only first steps.”

Mendenhall said UDOT has ordered no-touch temperature sensors to screen airport passengers for a fever, one of the symptoms of COVID-19.

Sonja Hutson covers politics for KUER. Follow her on Twitter @SonjaHutson.

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