Romney Says Mormons Greeting Returning Missionaries at Airports Are ‘Irresponsible’

March 23, 2020 Updated: March 23, 2020

Sen. Mitt Romney (R-Utah) said that the hundreds of people who greeted Mormon missionaries at the Salt Lake City airport should not have gathered amid the CCP virus pandemic.

The Epoch Times refers to the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, as the CCP virus because the Chinese Communist Party’s coverup and mismanagement allowed the virus to spread throughout China and create a global pandemic.

About 900 Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints missionaries returning from the Philippines arrived home in Salt Lake City, according to photos posted online. A large crowd was photographed at the airport.

“This is irresponsible,” Romney, who is a Mormon, said in a statement. “Parents, please pick up your missionary from the airport alone and help them strictly follow self-quarantine procedures for their first 14 days at home. We need to work together to keep our communities safe.”

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert weighed in on the matter, saying that “as missionaries return home due to the spread of COVID-19 across the globe, they should not be met by big groups of family or friends.” He added: “Large welcome parties are dangerous and could greatly increase the spread of coronavirus in our state.”

And Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox, who is a Mormon, said that he was “really disappointed” by the missionaries’ families at the airport.

Epoch Times Photo
In this Sunday, March 22, 2020 photo, the Preston family cheer as they see Elder Kaleb Preston as he returns from his mission in the Philippines, at the Salt Lake City International Airport.  (Rick Egan/The Salt Lake Tribune via AP)

“I get it, I’ve been there (and still have a child serving), but this is unacceptable. In a time of shared sacrifice, we must do better to save lives,” he said.

The church wrote on Sunday that parents need to go alone to pick up family members to comply with social distancing measures, calling on missionaries to go into self-quarantine for 14 days.

“We ask families, friends and community members to help support and encourage missionaries to follow these guidelines to help prevent any potential spread of illness and to keep missionaries and those around them safe,” the statement said.