Utah governor meets with lawmakers to discuss mask mandate

FILE - Gov. Gary Herbert wears his mask as he enters the daily COVID-19 briefing at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Wednesday, May 20, 2020.

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Utah Gov. Gary Herbert is considering issuing a statewide mask mandate after discussing the issue with state legislators this week.

The Republican governor raised the possibility of a statewide order last week as the state has continued experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases. He held a virtual meeting with House Speaker Brad Wilson and Senate President J. Stuart Adams on Tuesday to discuss a potential state measure, Fox 13 first reported Tuesday night.

We’re trying to maintain and protect people’s health and maintain and protect the economy,” Adams told The Salt Lake Tribune Tuesday. “We can do both, and we are going to do both.”

Herbert is also facing mounting pressure from the Utah Hospital Association which sent a letter Tuesday urging the legislative leadership to require residents to wear masks. The letter called the recent spike’s impact on hospitals and health care professionals “unsustainable.”

Herbert has so far declined to issue a statewide mask requirement in the deeply conservative state. Instead, he has instructed counties and cities to request his permission if they think a face mask mandate is necessary.

He has approved mask mandates in Salt Lake, Summit and Grand counties, as well as the city of Springdale.

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