SLC Mayor, Businesses Urge People To Keep Masks On After April 10
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Three weeks out from the end of the mask mandate, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall and business owners are urging people to keep their masks on.
“This April 10 decision seems to be a step away from that data-based health metric approach,” Mendenhall said.
Grocery chains like Smith’s and Harmons have already announced the mandate will remain in place in their stores beyond April 10. Some small businesses also say employees and customers will be expected to keep their masks on for the time being.
On top of the music, the atmosphere and the food, Santo Taco in Salt Lake City is counting on the mask to bring customers in, or at least not push them away, when the statewide mask mandate is out.
“I’m alright with it. We should use our mask,” said Carmelo Briones, a cook at the popular taco restaurant. “For the safety of my family and others, you know.”
Since Briones put on the apron there last year, the mask has been the rule. And that’s been OK for Briones, who said, “you get used to it after a while.”
But, he admits, it hasn’t always been popular with customers.
“Some of them, they don’t want to use a mask,” he said, adding that the restaurant sticks to the rule and offers a mask if they don’t have one.
“Here’s the mask. You can come in. That’s how it is.”
COVID case numbers are down, restrictions are easing, and vaccinations are up. But Mendenhall points to top health officials, like state epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn, who say the mask should be the last guideline to go.
“We want the good news to keep coming,” she said. “And part of that relies on our businesses and residents continuing to take precautions and wear masks until we’re fully out of the woods.”
“I think the way things are right now it’s too soon,” said David Hernandez, a customer at Santo Taco. “But I think that eventually it’s something that should happen.”
Asked about whether a mask requirement would sway his decision on where to spend his money, he said, “To me it’s more about the respect. So, if they require me to wear it, I will.”
Mendenhall said city attorneys were looking into the possibility of implementing a local mask mandate after the state’s mandate expires.
“Hopefully we’re not going to be faced with the need to put in a local mandated,” she said, “but it’s an option I’ll keep on the table.”
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