LOGAN, Utah (AP) - A mayor in northern Utah has asked for a citywide mask mandate to limit the spread of COVID-19, a request that has drawn mixed reactions from Cache County council members and city residents.
"This is the critical period with students going back to school, and with university students coming back to town, you know, who are coming from out of state and other places, this is a way to help protect our community," Logan Mayor Holly Daines said Tuesday.
Daines also clarified that a mask would not be required in every situation, The Herald Journal reported.
"If you are in a building, in your own personal workspace which allows you to social distance, you do not have to wear a mask," she said. "If you go outside, you should have one available in case you come into contact with people that are outside and you can't social distance."
The request came after Republican Gov. Gary Herbert issued a mask mandate in all K-12 schools, and Utah State University implemented a similar rule on its campus in Logan.
Logan City Council member Jess Bradfield was the only member against the mandate, arguing that he wants to work out a compromise with the city and county.
"I don't like the division that's taken place. This has become a political issue," Bradfield said.
Multiple County Council members have said they prefer encouraging residents to wear masks not ordering it, arguing that a countywide mask mandate is unlikely.
The low numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county are proof "people here are working hard to do their best to be careful with this virus," Cache County Council member Gina Worthen said.
Some residents do not trust the county's guidance after attempts to reopen just weeks earlier.
"I believe, based on generations of common practice and science, a state mandate for public gatherings and where distancing is impractical is needed," resident Dan Durham said.
The drafted proposal is expected to be sent to the Bear River Health Department, which will then send it to the state for consideration.
The mask mandate is intended to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some - especially older adults and people with existing health problems - it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.