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Order requiring info from travelers coming into Utah goes into effect

By Matt Rascon, KSL TV | Posted - Apr. 10, 2020 at 8:04 a.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — Beginning Friday travelers coming into Utah by plane or car will be required to complete a travel declaration form that asks questions about testing, symptoms and previous travel.

That’s according to Gov. Gary Herbert’s latest executive order.

Passengers arriving at the Salt Lake International Airport will receive a card from the Utah Department of Transportation upon arrival, directing each person 18 and older to complete a survey within three hours of arrival.

“I just think it’s better to be proactive,” Emily Sigler said as she dropped off a foreign exchange student, Serom Chung, who had been living with them. Chung was heading back home early because of the virus.

“I think that’s the only way you can prevent the mass spread of the virus,” said Chung, who will get a much stricter welcome in South Korea, including getting tested for the virus and three days of quarantine before she can return to her family, she said.

Those arriving in Utah can expect questions like:

  • Have you been tested for the coronavirus?
  • Do you have any symptoms?
  • Where else have you traveled?

The survey also asks travelers about their contact information and whether they are a Utah resident.

“It’s really just an effort to have everybody do their part so we can control the spread of this virus,” said John Gleason, spokesperson for UDOT, which was tasked with helping to carry out the governor’s order.

The airport isn’t the only place it’s happening either. The same rules apply for drivers. Officials will use geo-fencing to send out a targeted wireless emergency alert to people crossing into Utah at one of nine entry points.

Gleason called the effort a first of its kind.

“It’s an emergency situation,” he said. “We want to make sure we can slow the spread of this virus and help to get it under control.”

At the point, there are no plans to chase down people and force them to comply, but Gleason said, “We do expect people will follow those instructions because it is a governor’s order.”

For those who cross into Utah multiple times a day or week, Gleason said they only need to fill out the form once unless there is a need to update the answers because they’ve changed.

“They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” Sigler said. “So I think it’s fair to try and control what’s happening and who’s going where.”

Others online, though, have questioned why the state is implementing the order, why its gathering private information, and what they will do with it.

The information will be collected by the Utah Department of Health, which has been charged with keeping it private and, depending on the answers, using that information to help them track and trace any spread of COVID-19.

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