Utah Democrats urge Governor Hebert to mandate masks

Coronavirus Updates

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – The pandemic has surged in Utah leading to record cases and record deaths. Some Utah lawmakers, members of the Utah Senate and House Democratic Caucuses, delivered a joint letter to Governor Herbert and urged him to issue a statewide mandate for masks and other protective actions for certain high-risk facilities.

The letter is a follow up to what public health officials have directed to prevent the further spread of COVID-19.

The full letter to the governor is below:

Governor Herbert:

We urge you to issue a statewide mandate for masks and other protective actions for certain high-risk facilities, as directed by our public health officials, to prevent the further spread of COVID-19. Nearly half of the deaths so far in Utah have been people in long- term care facilities, and two-thirds of Utah’s long-term care centers have experienced a coronavirus case. Clearly, our loved ones who are at-risk continue to be very vulnerable to this disease, as is anyone residing or working in facilities where close contact with other individuals is commonplace.

Last week, the leaders of Utah’s largest healthcare providers asked for your leadership in mandating masks throughout the state. In the face of a dangerous spike in the number of cases and with our hospital ICUs getting dangerously close to capacity, we agree with their assessment. If you are unwilling to take that decisive action to save lives, we ask you to at least show leadership in providing this common sense measure to protect those most at risk in our state.

Long-term care facilities are now required by Utah Department of Health guidelines to have policies for the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), but facility staff are not mandated to wear masks. This is an area where clear industry standards exist and one in which your leadership is sorely needed. The recent outbreak at the Four Corners Region

Care Center has shown that not all facilities in our state may be taking guidelines seriously or taking proper precautions.

We are deeply concerned about the continuing spread of the Coronavirus across our state and in our communities. We have already seen that when you have acted with stronger, clearer guidelines, more Utahns respond. Continuing that type of leadership will allow fewer to be sickened and die, and our state to recover with more speed and vitality. Please, our state needs your leadership, now more than ever.

Respectfully,
Utah Senate and House Democratic Caucuses

  • Senator Gene Davis
  • Senator Luz Escamilla
  • Senator Jani Iwamoto
  • Senator Derek Kitchen
  • Senator Karen Mayne
  • Senator Kathleen Riebe
  • Representative Patrice Arent
  • Representative Joel BriscoeRepresentative Jennifer Dailey-Provost
  • Representative Sue Duckworth
  • Representative Suzanne Harrison
  • Representative Sandra Hollins
  • Representative Brian King
  • Representative Karen Kwan
  • Representative Carol Spackman Moss
  • Representative Stephanie Pitcher
  • Representative Marie Poulson
  • Representative Angela Romero
  • Representative LaWanna “Lou” Shurtliff
  • Representative Andrew Stoddard
  • Representative Elizabeth Weight
  • Representative Mark Wheatley
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert wears a mask as he waits in the hallway before the start of the daily briefing on the state’s efforts to fight COVID-19 Wednesday, June 24, 2020, in Salt Lake City. Hebert said he will require face masks at state-run buildings that include liquor stores and higher education offices and approve a request from the state’s largest county to make face coverings required in certain situations. But the Republican governor stopped short of implementing a statewide requirement for face coverings as several other states have done such as Washington, California and New York. (Steve Griffin/ Deseret News via AP, Pool)
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