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Summit County Asks State For Mandatory Face Mask Order

FILE: Summit County Health Officer Dr. Rich Bullough announces public health order closures intended to slow the spread of the novel coronavirus.

PARK CITY, Utah – Officials with the Summit County Health Department have submitted a request to require face masks in the county.

Under the proposed health order, masks would be required inside or in line to enter any indoor public space, while obtaining health care services, at community gatherings or certain workplace situations.

“Based on our current adverse data trends, and the surging cases in surrounding counties, we strongly believe our primary hope in adverting a future business shutdown is through this proposed mandatory mask measure,” officials said. “Our business community and resort economy simply cannot endure a return to moderate risk (Orange) without suffering catastrophic economic damage.”

Health officials cited the Centers for Disease Control and evidence from 10 studies that found benefits for face masks in general.

They added that Summit County only has four ICU beds at one Intermountain Healthcare hospital, and its test rate positivity rose from 2.5% on June 12 to 4% on June 21.

“While these data may not be as dire at this moment as some surrounding jurisdictions, all the trends are unfavorable,” officials said. “Summit County is a location to which people travel, often from areas experiencing rapid disease spread.”

Exemptions would be granted for:

  • Children 2 years old or younger.
  • Individuals with a medical condition, mental health condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering.
  • Individuals who are hearing impaired, or communicating with an individual who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication.
  • Individuals for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the individual related to their work, as determined by local, state or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.
  • Individuals who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service.
  • Individuals who are seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service, while they are eating or drinking.

Officials said county authorities would be directed to ensure compliance with and enforce the order, but discretion will be used in citing or prosecuting violations.

“In addition to the grave health consequences, we are extremely concerned that Summit County’s economy will be profoundly damaged by not checking the continuing spread of COVID-19. Infected employees can effectively close a small business while they quarantine and their contacts isolate,” officials said. “Equally troubling is a negative reputation attached to being labeled a hotspot for infection that could result in Summit County being viewed negatively as a desirable place to visit. Please help us preserve the health of our residents, our excellent reputation and brand, and to keep our businesses open.”

Salt Lake County has also submitted a request to the state asking for a mandatory face mask order.

Gov. Gary Herbert said Salt Lake’s request would be reviewed Thursday and he expected it to be approved.


Coronavirus Resources

How Do I Prevent It?

The CDC has some simple recommendations, most of which are the same for preventing other respiratory illnesses or the flu:

  • Avoid close contact with people who may be sick
  • Avoid touching your face
  • Stay home when you are sick
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue and then throw the tissue in the trash
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom, before eating, and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing. Always wash your hands with soap and water if your hands are visibly dirty.
  • If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.
The CDC recommends wearing cloth face coverings in public settings where other social distancing measures are difficult to maintain (e.g., grocery stores and pharmacies), especially in areas of significant community-based transmission.

How To Get Help

If you’re worried you may have COVID-19, you can contact the Utah Coronavirus Information Line at 1-800-456-7707 to speak to trained healthcare professionals. You can also use telehealth services through your healthcare providers.

Additional Resources

If you see evidence of PRICE GOUGING, the Utah Attorney General’s Office wants you to report it. Common items in question include toilet paper, water, hand sanitizer, certain household cleaners, and even cold medicine and baby formula. Authorities are asking anyone who sees price gouging to report it to the Utah Division of Consumer Protection at 801-530-6601 or 800-721-7233. The division can also be reached by email at consumerprotection@utah.gov.

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