SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — At least 27 people in Utah have died and 3,069 have tested positive for the coronavirus, state health officials reported Sunday, a day after about a thousand people violated a Salt Lake City health order by rallying against city social distancing and business restrictions designed to curb the virus’ spread.

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A man looks on during the Utah Business Revival rally, calling for Utah’s economy to be reopened, in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 18, 2020. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said Friday the state is aiming to reopen restaurants and gyms and resume elective surgeries in early May under a plan to gradually reopen the economy that has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Sunday’s data was released hours after protesters, many of them without masks and exchanging hugs, rallied at Salt Lake City Hall to demand a relaxation of health orders they said are costing jobs and ruining the economy.

The Utah Business Revival protest was among several in U.S. cities against the restrictions. President Donald Trump last week urged governors to relax state health orders by tweeting “Liberate Michigan” and ”Liberate Virginia” only hours after his White House released guidance on reopening the economy that allows the states to decide when to act.

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People gather during the Utah Business Revival rally, calling for Utah’s economy to be reopened, in Salt Lake City on Saturday, April 18, 2020. Utah Gov. Gary Herbert said Friday the state is aiming to reopen restaurants and gyms and resume elective surgeries in early May under a plan to gradually reopen the economy that has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

“We have to let (officials) know, with our voice, that it’s ‘We the People’ and not ‘They the Government,’” Salt Lake rally organizer Eric Moutsos said to cheers from a tight-packed crowd, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.

© Provided by Associated Press
People gather during the Utah Business Revival rally, calling for Utah’s economy to be re-opened, Saturday, April 18, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Utah will aim to reopen restaurants and gyms and resume elective surgeries in early May under a plan unveiled Friday by Gov. Gary Herbert to gradually reopen the economy that has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

City Mayor Erin Mendenhall issued a statement noting that the gathering violated a public health order, which forbids mass gatherings of 100 people or more in public spaces.

On Friday, Gov. Gary Herbert said Utah hopes to reopen restaurants and gyms and resume elective surgeries in early May as the first steps to gradually reopen the economy. The Republican governor said the plan mirrors the White House guidelines but depends on citizens observing social distancing.

© Provided by Associated Press
People gather during the Utah Business Revival rally, calling for Utah’s economy to be re-opened, Saturday, April 18, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Utah will aim to reopen restaurants and gyms and resume elective surgeries in early May under a plan unveiled Friday by Gov. Gary Herbert to gradually reopen the economy that has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

Utah is one of only a few states without a blanket stay-home order. Herbert has requested that people go out only for essential activities.

© Provided by Associated Press
People gather during the Utah Business Revival rally, calling for Utah’s economy to be re-opened, Saturday, April 18, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Utah will aim to reopen restaurants and gyms and resume elective surgeries in early May under a plan unveiled Friday by Gov. Gary Herbert to gradually reopen the economy that has been decimated by the coronavirus pandemic. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)



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