Truckers Exempted from Utah’s “Unconstitutional” COVID-19 Travel Order After Backlash
Salt Lake City, UT – After coming under pressure from trucking stakeholders, Utah Governor Gary Herbert has exempted truckers from his newly issued executive order requiring all travelers to complete a COVID-19 survey upon entering the state.
On Wednesday, Utah Governor Gary Herbert announced an executive order requiring all individuals entering Utah from out of state who are over the age 18, including those involved in interstate commerce, to complete a COVID-19 travel declaration containing a series of health-related questions.
The Utah Department of Transportation (UDOT) said upon entrance at any of the nine points of entry into the State, travelers will receive a text message and an alert to their mobile device via the federal wireless emergency alert system.
UDOT said the State gained permission from the Federal government to use the emergency alert system for this purpose.
Individuals are asked to follow the link in the text message to entry.utah.gov in order to complete the declaration.
Questions with required answers include: name; address; if you have been tested for COVID-19 in the previous two weeks; if you are experiencing a cough, shortness of breath or fever; entry point; home phone number; email address; and list of specific places traveled in the previous 14 days.
Following the announcement of the order, John Gleason, Public Information Officer for UDOT, told Transportation Nation Network (TNN) the Agency is asking truckers (and any vehicle traveler) entering Utah to fill out the online form whether or not they plan to spend extended time in the state, such as a break, reset, or load/unload.
“One thing we want to emphasize is that they do so when they are at a safe stopping point, within three hours of entering the state,” Gleason said.
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However, numerous trucking stakeholders, including the American Trucking Associations (ATA), Utah Trucking Association and the Nevada Trucking Association, immediately pushed back.
“If you think that this is unconstitutional you are right,” a statement from the Nevada Trucking Association said. “This is an impediment to interstate commerce which was one of the main reasons we jettisoned the Articles of Confederation and adopted our Constitution way back in 1789.”
On April 10, Governor Herbert partially reversed course by exempting truckers as well as other essential personnel such as airline employees and first responders.
However, the Governor is leaving the bulk of the order in place.
The use of technology in the ongoing battle against the COVID-19 outbreak is becoming a bigger issue.
Major technology companies Google and Apple announced a joint initiative this week that alerts users via their mobile devices if they come into contact with someone known to have been infected with coronavirus.
The contact-tracing technology allows users to share data through Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) transmissions and approved apps from health organizations.
“Since COVID-19 can be transmitted through close proximity to affected individuals, public health organizations have identified contact tracing as a valuable tool to help contain its spread,” a statement read.
However, such uses of technology call into question Americans’ right to privacy and bring with it a host of constitutional questions.
TNN will continue to follow new developments.