Trump recommends limiting gatherings to 10; Romney proposes $1,000 checks to citizens

In this May 21, 2019 file photo, Sen. Mitt Romney, R-Utah, speaks in the District of Columbia. | Associated Press file photo by Patrick Semansky, St. George News

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — President Donald Trump has announced new federal COVID-19 recommendations. Also on Monday, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney is proposing $1,000 checks for every American as the nation responds to the coronavirus outbreak.

In a press conference Monday afternoon, Trump announced a federal recommendation in effect for the next 15 days limiting gatherings of people to 10 or fewer in order to stop the spread of the virus in schools and businesses.

“If everyone makes this change or these critical changes and sacrifices now,” Trump said, “we will rally together as one nation and we will defeat the virus and we’re going to have a big celebration all together.”

Romney, meanwhile, wants to send out one-time checks to help families meet their own short-term needs and bolster the economy, similar to actions Congress took during recessions in 2001 and 2008, he said in a statement. He’ll push that and other proposals, like temporary required coverage of remote telehealth services, as discussions continue about additional coronavirus relief.

This comes amid the shutdown of bars, restaurants and resorts in many places in the country, including some of Utah’s most popular areas. The proposals come after the closure of ski resorts until April 16 and the announcement that a bartender in Park City tested positive for coronavirus, marking the first community spread in the state.

That case and the fact that Park City is a major tourist destination played into the closure decision, Summit County Health Officer Rich Bullough said. That raises the risk of transmission from people bringing it in as well as tourists potentially leaving and spreading elsewhere.

A skier takes a run at Snowbird Resort near Salt Lake City, June 14, 2019 | Associated Press file photo by Rick Bowmer, St. George News

Health officials in three neighboring counties — Uintah, Daggett and Duchesne — asked people to avoid all non-essential travel outside of the area on Monday.

Salt Lake County restaurants will close to diners late Monday, though takeout and food delivery will still be available, according to officials who declared a public-health emergency. Grocery stores will remain open, though any seating areas will close.

Illinois, Ohio, Massachusetts, Washington state and New York City are among other places that have ordered bars to close and restaurants to stop dine-in service.

In Utah, 28 people had tested positive for coronavirus as of Sunday night, according to state health officials. There have been no deaths.

The coronavirus, deemed a pandemic by the World Health Organization, infected more than 150,000 people and killed over 5,700. The disease for most people causes only mild or moderate symptoms. For some, it can cause more severe illness. The vast majority recover.

Additional COVID-19 information resources

Written by BRADY McCOMBS and LINDSAY WHITEHURST Associated Press. St. George News contributed to this report.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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