SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – Two of Utah’s top lawmakers released statements Wednesday opposing a statewide mask mandate. This after multiple organizations have urged the governor act as the state experiences a spike in coronavirus cases.
Utah Speaker of the House Brad Wilson acknowledges the pandemic is “far from over,” but he believes it is best stop short of issuing statewide government mandate. He suggests doing so would apply blanket policy to areas with different rates of infection.
“Local officials are better positioned to make data driven decisions regarding face masks that are tailored to their communities,” Wilson said.
Utah Senate President J. Stuart Adams said the simple act of wearing a mask protects the state’s most vulnerable populations, allows businesses to stay open and prevents our health care systems from being overwhelmed. However, Adams appears to take issue with the questions surrounding enforcing such a mandate.
“As legislators, we are working to strike a balance between policies that protect public health and citizens’ rights,” said Adams.
Adams and Wilson urge Utahns to “do the right thing” voluntarily. The lawmakers encourage Utah citizens to accept personal responsibility in helping slow the spread of COVID-19.
The lawmakers’ statements come amid mounting pressure on Governor Gary Herbert from the Utah Hospital Association and Salt Lake Chamber. Both entities sent formal requests to state leaders urging them them adopt a rule requiring Utahns to wear masks. Herbert is expected to share an update on the state response to the pandemic Thursday.