SALT LAKE CITY, Utah, March 19, 2021 (Gephardt Daily) — Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall on Friday asked city businesses to keep requiring masks even after April 10, when the state’s mask mandate is expected to be lifted.
The Utah Legislature voted with House Bill 294 to lift the statewide mandate, which was sparked by the COVID-19 pandemic, on April 10. Gov. Spencer Cox has said he does not plan to veto the bill, but he has not yet signed it. The mask mandate would still apply to large gatherings and to schools.
“We still need to exercise caution,” Mendenhall said Friday at a news conference. “Mask wearing is still vital. We’re not done.”
The Mayor stood with representatives of local businesses, including Harmons, Publik Coffee Roasters, Break Bread Barber Co., and Santo Taco. Harmons officials already had announced plans to continue requiring masks.
“We’re seeing some light at the end of the tunnel,” Mendenhall said. “And last week, I joined with members of our business community in asking that essential workers be given the opportunity to get vaccinated before the end of the mask mandate. And I am so glad to say they will now have that opportunity, and I really appreciate Gov. Cox for expediting the vaccine process so that, as we all know, as of next Wednesday, everyone age 16 and over can sign up for and receive a vaccine.”
But even as business owners welcome back customers, Mendenhall said, caution is important.
“Even though our COVID-19 numbers have dropped and are continuing to drop significantly over the last few months, mask wearing is still vital,” she said. “We’re not done. And I’m asking businesses in Salt Lake City to join us in pledging to continue requiring masks in their establishments until our healthcare experts say it’s safe for us to remove them.”
Mendenhall said Cox’s mask mandate “was an incredible asset for consumer confidence in the county. It made a lot of people feel more comfortable, and we heard many times that patrons of Salt Lake City businesses felt safe knowing that Salt Lake City businesses were enforcing that mandate.”
The Mayor said masks slowed the spread of coronavirus in Utah, and continue to do so.
“Masks have been good for business, and I don’t want to see that progress destroyed before we make it all the way through.”
Mendenhall also shared her thoughts on Twitter after the news conference. See her tweet below.
Today I asked #slc businesses that interact with the public to continue to ask employees and patrons to wear masks until health professionals say it’s safe to stop. Places like Santo Taco, Break Bread Barber, @HarmonsGrocery and @PublikCoffee deserve to keep their employees safe pic.twitter.com/ePJ2hLwMK8
— Mayor Erin Mendenhall (@slcmayor) March 19, 2021