SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah Department of Health has confirmed that Gov. Gary Herbert has approved a request from Logan Mayor Holly Daines to mandate the wearing of masks or face coverings by city residents and visitors.
Logan now joins a handful of other local entities in Utah that have made the wearing of face coverings in public mandatory. Those entities are Salt Lake City and three Utah counties: Grand, Salt Lake and Summit.
Despite a recent decline in coronavirus cases in the Bear River Health District, Herbert defended his decision on Daines’ request in a general way during the weekly press conference held Thursday by the state COVID-19 Task Force by calling mask wearing “good science and good sense.”
In a July 23 letter sent through the Bear River Health Department to Herbert, Daines said that a city mask mandate was a proactive step toward making local face covering guidelines consistent since both the Logan City School District and Utah State University had already adopted similar policies.
Daines also stressed that a proactive mask mandate is necessary because local health officials have confirmed that community spread of COVID-19 is an issue in the Bear River Health District.
Details of when and how the mask mandate will be implemented will be discussed at a city press conference set to 4 p.m. today.
In general terms, however, Daines has previously stated that the city’s mandate would require masks to be worn indoors in public places whenever contact with other individuals was likely and outdoors whenever social distancing cannot be maintained.
Daines has also pledged that the city has no plans to punitively enforce the mandate.
But mask wearing is no “silver bullet,” according to Dr. Benjamin Abbott of Brigham Young University.
At the state COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, Abbott called mask wearing an “essential tool” in the effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus, but added that social distancing, hand-washing and avoidance of public gatherings are equally important.