Salt Lake County Mask Mandate Extended Through End Of 2020
Aug 19, 2020, 2:10 PM | Updated: Aug 20, 2020, 11:59 am
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Salt Lake County officials have extended the county’s mask mandate through the end of the year, prompting mixed reactions from businesses and residents, some of whom marched through Salt Lake City streets calling for an end to mandates.
Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson on Wednesday signed an order extending the mandate, which requires masks or face coverings to be worn in public spaces where social distancing is not an option, through Dec. 31, 2020.
“We know that face coverings work to help prevent the spread of COVID-19, and we know that Salt Lake County’s face covering requirement has resulted in more people wearing face coverings when they are out in public,” said Chloe Morroni, communications director for Salt Lake County. “We’ve seen proof of this in Salt Lake County case counts dropping more quickly and steadily than the rest of the state, and in comparing face-covering usage in Salt Lake County with face-covering usage in surrounding counties. In short, the steps we have taken in Salt Lake County are working as we’d hoped.”
Yesterday, the Salt Lake County Council extended our emergency declaration through the end of the year, and today, Salt Lake County Health Department and Mayor Jenny Wilson extended the public health order and face covering requirement to match that timeline.
Posted by Salt Lake County Government on Wednesday, August 19, 2020
Four more months of masks means the signs at the entrance to The Charleston Draper will remain until at least the end of the year. One notifies customers of its “no shirt, no shoes, no facemask, no service” policy. Another encourages physical distancing and discourages people from coming in if they have symptoms.
“The most important thing is take care of your customers,” said Marco Silva, owner and chef at The Charleston Draper. “I don’t like to wear it but I have to protect myself and everybody else that works for me.”
Like so many other businesses, Silva’s restaurant struggled during the first few months of the pandemic. But since reopening in May, Silva says his restaurant is moving in the right direction. The newly paved patio offers plenty of space between tables and chairs. And Silva says the physical distancing and masks are paying off, for the most part.
“We have sometimes issues with people that don’t believe masks help,” he said.
Believe it or not, masks are here to stay in Salt Lake County after Mayor Jenny Wilson extended the health order and mask mandate through the end of the year.
“We’re six months into this emergency and we recognize that until we have a vaccine we need to continue to battle COVID-19,” Wilson said. “I think the mask requirement will help us. We know that it’s working.”
But the extension was bad news for the crowd that gathered at the Utah State Capitol Wednesday night.
“Our voices are not being heard,” said rally organizer Britney Lindsey. “Our voices are not being heard in any part of this, so we’re here tonight because we will be heard.”
She and others marched in a rally requesting the removal of mask mandates.
“There is so much anxiety in our society right now because of these stupid mandates that are being forced upon every single citizen,” she said.
As for Silva, he may not like wearing them, but he remained committed to doing his part to keep people safe and his business running.
“It is not nice, especially when you work for 16 hours. But we have to do what we have to do,” he said. “I think if it is something will help us get somewhere better for everybody, I’m totally okay with that.”
The county put the order into place in June. Authorities have reported a decline in new COVID-19 cases since the mask mandate began.
Gov. Gary Herbert has declined to issue a statewide mask mandate, saying that he hopes Utahns will choose to do the right thing.
“If we reach a point when the data and our public health experts tell us face coverings are no longer necessary, the order will be rescinded early,” Morroni said. “Until we have a treatment proven effective or a vaccine widely available, it’s important for us all to continue taking the precautions we can, including washing hands regularly, staying isolated at home when we’re ill, social distancing, and wearing face coverings.”