Senate, House Democrats Urge Gov. To Mandate Face Masks

Jul 14, 2020, 3:55 PM | Updated: 3:56 pm
The Utah State Capitol (Photo: Derek Petersen, KSL TV)...
The Utah State Capitol (Photo: Derek Petersen, KSL TV)
(Photo: Derek Petersen, KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Members of the Utah Senate and House caucus delivered a letter to Governor Gary Herbert urging him to issue a statewide mandate to wear face masks to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

The letter, signed by 22 democrats, asked for other protective actions for certain high-risk facilities, as directed by public health officials.

“Nearly half of the deaths so far in Utah have been people in long-term care facilities, and two-thirds of Utah’s long-term care centers have experienced a coronavirus case,” the letter reads. “Clearly, our loved ones who are at-risk continue to be very vulnerable to this disease, as is anyone residing or working in facilities where close contact with other individuals is commonplace.”

Tuesday, the Utah Department of Health announced the highest daily increase in deaths, 10, since the pandemic started. Three of them were men at a long-term care facility in San Juan County that is in the middle of an outbreak.

The letter also referred to a call from the state’s largest healthcare providers, last week, to mandate masks in the state. “In the face of a dangerous spike in the number of cases, and with our hospital ICUs getting dangerously close to capacity, we agree with their assessment. If you are unwilling to take that decisive action to save lives, we ask you to at least show leadership in providing this common-sense measure to protect those most at risk in our state.”

The Democrats did give the Governor credit for some of his previous decisions to control the coronavirus. “We have already seen that when you have acted with stronger, clearer guidelines, more Utahns respond. Continuing that type of leadership will allow fewer to be sickened and die, and our state to recover with more speed and vitality.  Please, our state needs your leadership, now more than ever.”

The Governor’s office has not responded to a request from for comment.

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Senate, House Democrats Urge Gov. To Mandate Face Masks