Gov. Herbert Meeting With Local Leaders To Decide On Making Masks Mandatory

Jun 25, 2020, 6:02 AM | Updated: 7:39 am

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Gov. Gary Herbert will be meeting with state and local leaders to review case numbers and hospitalizations before deciding whether or not he will allow local governments to make wearing masks mandatory.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson requested the county require masks for the public while inside retail establishments, commercial buildings and at community gatherings.

The request came after COVID-19 cases spiked in Utah and following an internal memo from state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn that recommended the state make wearing face coverings mandatory. Doctors and medical professionals are also urging Utahns to wear masks.

Herbert on Wednesday announced masks would be mandatory in liquor stores and state buildings, including public universities. However, the governor didn’t go as far as requiring face coverings across the state, but he did signal the state may approve Salt Lake County’s request.

“Heavy-handed government sometimes has a negative reaction with the people,” Herbert said. “I’m hopeful we can get people to do the right thing for the right reason because they love their neighbor.”

He also said he will not issue any more relaxations of the state’s color dial over the next two weeks, meaning those areas of the state currently in the low-risk, or “yellow” phase of Utah’s reopening plan will remain there into July.

With the rise in cases across the country, health officials in Utah aren’t the only ones pleading with the public to wear masks. Several areas of the U.S. are seeing numbers even higher than they were in March.

The University of Washington’s COVID-19 projection model is the one used by the White House. It now predicts more than 179,000 Americans will have died from the virus by the beginning of October. Researchers, though, said it doesn’t have to be that bad.

A new report from the university says that if face coverings are worn across the country, then 33,000 fewer people would be killed.

One professor made a comparison, saying, “Not wearing a mask in public is like driving drunk.”

Johns Hopkins University’s most recent report shows nearly 2.4 million confirmed cases of the coronavirus in the United States, and increase of 34,000 in a single day. Many of those new cases came from just three states.

California, Florida and Texas all set single-day record increases for new COVID-19 cases. Those three states account for 27% of the country’s entire population, but they had more than half of the new cases in America.

Cases have spiked so much in Texas that health experts now say Houston could soon become the worst-hit area in the entire country, rivaling the situation in New York City in March.

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Gov. Herbert Meeting With Local Leaders To Decide On Making Masks Mandatory