TAYLORSVILLE, Utah, Sept. 24, 2020 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson on Thursday announced a “tweak” to SLCo’s mask mandate order, clarifying that mask also should be worn outdoors when social distancing is not possible, and people are in the company of others who are not part of their households.
The action comes after the decision in Utah County that some school sports teams will continue to compete, but audience members will stay home in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. Many spectators had been showing up without masks.
“I think you’re all aware by now that we see an increase in cases,” Wilson said at a news conference outdoors in Taylorsville, after an earlier interview with Gephardt Daily.
“We also see youth in our community primarily being the largest sector of our community with new cases, and that’s concerning,” she told listeners. “That’s not new news. We’ve been discussing this issue as school districts have worked really hard to discover the bets system and method to educate our kids. A lot of have opinions around that.
“Having said that, we now know, and we have known it for some time, that social distancing and the wearing of masks are our strongest tools to combat COVID-19.”
Wilson also noted ongoing debate about the state’s, counties’ and cities’ roles setting public policy regarding mask mandates.
“I was really thrilled to see Utah County take a step to alleviate the spread of COVID-19 in Utah County,” Wilson said. “Salt Lake County shares a boundary with Utah County, and we had seen high cases of course in Utah County, and I think that many people live and work in one county or the other and cross boundaries. We know that the virus does not respect our municipal boundaries, our county boundaries, so it was all the more important for Utah County to step up at this time, and I’m very excited that that has happened.”
Wilson said when word came down that some sporting events would be closed to spectators for some period of time, she decided to look at Salt Lake County’s mask mandate and how it addressed outdoor gatherings.
“Just as Utah County has clarified that everyone in the outdoors, if they can’t social distance, needs to wear a face covering, we, too, are clarifying our language, to assure that people understand wherever you are, if you’re around others and they’re not members of your own family, have a face covering on where you cannot social distance.
“So with that, we’ve tweaked the language a little on our order today, Gary Edwards and I. That language, I’ll read to you:
Face coverings mandatory. Any individual within Salt Lake County who is age 2 and over and able to medically or psychologically tolerate a face covering shall be required to wear a face covering that completely covers the nose and mouth when in any public areas, including outdoors, when non-household members are present and social distancing is not possible.
“So that’s just a little tweak to our order to remind people that when you are outside and you are around others, have your face covering on. And we’ve heard of issues that are school football games and some other gathering with kids where in the outdoors face coverings are not being worn, and that increases risk. And the point here is not to be punitive, I wish we had other options now during COVID-19, but we simply don’t. We need to battle, We need to continue to battle this challenge.”
Wilson said the mask mandate will be in place until at least the first Tuesday in January, and it will be reviewed as Utah’s cases and the global pandemic continue to evolve and provide more data.
Wilson also announced that each city in Salt Lake County would be given 1,000 masks, which the county has available due to funds provided by the CARES Act and FEMA.