Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Provo's COVID-19 Mask Ordinance (updated 9/16/2020)

The ordinance is in now in effect.

NOTES TO THIS UPDATE:

(1) August 27, 2020 - The Provo City Council voted 6-1 to override the Mayor's veto of the ordinance. It contains a sunset provision of November 15, 2020.

(2) August 31, 2020 - Pursuant to Utah Code 20A-7-6, a petition to gather signatures to put the ordinance to referendum has been filed. The state code provides time limits for all steps in the process, including signature gathering, verification of signatures, and determination whether sufficient signatures were obtained. Depending on when signature gathering commences, how much time is required to gather signatures and for the County to verify signatures, the estimated latest date that determination could be made is December 11, 2020. If effort is successful, the ordinance would be suspended pending a referendum to be held next year (2021).

(3) September 15, 2020 - The Provo City Council unanimously approved some amendments to the ordinance to clarify some things.

On August 25, 2020, the Provo City Council unanimously approved an ordinance regarding the use of masks in Provo in order to limit the spread of COVID-19 by requiring all individuals within Provo, Utah, to wear face coverings while (1) in indoor public spaces* and when not maintaining a social distance of at least six feet from individuals not residing in the same household, (2) in attendance at large outdoor gatherings where social distancing is not possible, reasonable, or prudent, and (3) in attendance at large indoor gatherings. 

* "Indoor public spaces" means any building or indoor area, including businesses and government buildings, that authorizes, permits, or invites anyone who is not an employee, resident, or owner of the building or indoor area, to enter in order to conduct business, recreate, or otherwise use the facilities provided therein. This does not include the interior of any private dwelling (i.e., your home).

The full text of the updated ordinance itself can be found online.


Here are answers to some of the most frequently asked questions regarding this ordinance:

What the ordinance does and does not do?
  • The ordinance requires individuals to wear face coverings and/or practice social distancing in publicly accessible spaces with specific requirements that vary depending on:
    • whether an individual is indoors or outdoors
    • the size of gatherings
  • The ordinance requires businesses to post signage of the face covering and social distancing requirements.
  • The ordinance requires organizers of public gatherings to require attendees to wear face coverings and to provide clear signage of the face covering and social distancing requirements.
  • The ordinance DOES NOT BAN activities or public gatherings.
  • The ordinance DOES NOT require masks at home or in your yard, on public streets, sidewalks, or parking lots (unless the size of gatherings clause necessitates).
  • The ordinance provides numerous exemptions for individuals (see Who is Exempt? below)

Why the mandate?

  • To protect lives and livelihoods. Many studies have shown that the higher the percentage of people who wear face coverings and practice social distancing, the lower the incidence of COVID-19 transmission in the community. Debunking common mask myths.
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Why now?

  • Recent projections by BYU researchers indicated that without high levels of compliance with standards for wearing masks and socially distancing, the return of some 70,000 university students to Provo and Orem will result in significant increases in the number of COVID-19 cases in these communities. While there are mask requirements on campuses, until now there have been no community-wide restrictions off campus. The interactions and interconnectedness between students, businesses, and year-round residents will increase dramatically now that our students have returned.

Where are face coverings required?

  • In indoor public spaces when not maintaining a social distanceof at least 6 feet from people you don’t live with
  • At gatherings of certain sizes ("Gatherings" refers to a common event where people are coming together for a certain purpose and not to people who just happen to be in the same place at the same time (for example: a concert is a gathering, but people shopping at a store is not))
    • Indoor gatherings of more than 50 people regardless of whether social distancing of at least 6 feet is possible
    • Gatherings outdoors of more than 25 people where social distancing of at least 6 feet is not possible
  • This ordinance does not apply to private spaces, such as homes or private backyards.
What are the requirements for face coverings?
  • Face coverings must completely cover the nose and mouth (see exemptions below).
Who is exempt?
  • The following individuals are exempt from the requirements:
  • Children under the age of five
  • Individuals with a medical condition, mental health condition, or disability such that wearing a face covering under the circumstances is not possible, reasonable, or prudent
  • Individuals participating in official athletic events, training, or practices, in the reasonable discretion of their coaches or administrators, or engaging in strenuous physical activity where circumstances are not reasonably conducive to wearing a face covering, such as swimming, running, fitness classes, etc.
  • Individuals who are eating or drinking while seated at a restaurant or other establishment that offers food or beverage service
  • Individuals who are obtaining a service involving the nose or face for which temporary removal of the face covering is necessary to perform the service
  • Individuals who are hearing impaired, or communicating with an individual who is hearing impaired, where the ability to see the mouth is essential for communication
  • Individuals who are purchasing a product or receiving a service that requires identification may briefly remove a face covering as necessary
  • Individuals for whom wearing a face covering would create a risk to the individual related to their work, as determined by local, state or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines
  • Individual performers or speakers at large public gatherings who are at least six feet away from the crowd (like those speaking into a microphone in front of a group)
What are the requirements for business?
  • All businesses open to the public must post in a clearly visible location at or near a public entrance or entrances a notice that face coverings are required by law where consistent social distancing of a least six feet from individuals not residing in the same household is not possible, reasonable, or prudent. A printable sign is available here.
What are the requirements for event organizers?
  • Organizers of indoor public gatherings of more than 50 people must require attendees to wear face coverings and must provide clear noticing about the face covering requirement at the entrances.
  • Organizers of outdoor public gatherings of more than 25 people must require attendees to wear face coverings if social distancing of at least six feet is not possible.
What are the consequences for violations?
  • The emphasis is on education and compliance, with a violation classified as a civil infraction (not a criminal offense).
  • A public gathering organizer that violates the rules for organizing such a gathering could be subject to a maximum fine of $500.00.
  • The maximum fine for an individual violating the ordinance is $55.
When does the mandate end?
  • The mandate expires on November 15, 2020, unless the Council extends it by October 20, 2020.
I heard the Mayor is going to veto this ordinance?
  • The Mayor did veto the ordinance BUT the Council lawfully overrode the veto.  The ordinance is now in effect.

The meeting where the ordinance was passed can be seen below:

 

 
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Comment below (requires Google account), on our Facebook page, through our online comment form, or by contacting Council Members directly. Comments/input on items appearing on an upcoming meeting agenda will be compiled and provided to Council Members the day before the meeting. **Note - your comments will be part of the public record.

11 comments:

Unknown said...

Will there be a sign available for business to print and post?

Provo City Council said...

We are working on a printable sign and will add it to this post by the end of the day.

Warner Woodworth said...

Thank you, thank you, thank you. This kind of leadership will save lives & reduce community suffering. We appreciate your courage, your patriotism, & your ethics.

John Williams said...

The city council is an enemy of freedom and the constitution.
"Congress shall make no law ... abridging ... the right of the people peaceably to assemble."
Shame on anyone who votes to re-elect these traitors.

Unknown said...

Cont.
Another issue that I have seen is a false sense of security that those donning masks possess, I have seen several elderly individuals in non-essential areas wearing masks, feeling that the masks protect them. I think that by creating/enforcing this practice, which leads to a false sense of security, is a choice that ultimately endangers the lives of others, especially the lives of compromised individuals.
I believe that prior to requiring or even strongly recommending an action that threatens to take away one's personal freedom and potentially cause physical harm. You should have indisputable evidence supporting your new requirements. In the medical field, we are constantly evaluating if the benefits outweigh the risk. In my opinion, the unproven benefit of a possible reduction in the spread of COVID-19 does not outweigh the health risks that occur when healthy individuals wear masks (decreased oxygenation, respiratory infections, increased carbon dioxide, and heart rate).
Overall studies have found frequent handwashing and avoidance of touching the face to be the most significant actions in preventing the spread of COVID-19. (World Health Organization, 2020) These should be the actions we strongly recommend and encourage.

Sincerely,


Angeleah Roberts, RN, BSN, PMHNP-S

References:
Bae, S., Kim, M. C., Kim, J. Y., Cha, H. H., Lim, J. S., Jung, J., ... & Sung, M. (2020). Effectiveness of surgical and cotton masks in blocking SARS–CoV-2: a controlled comparison in 4 patients. Annals of Internal Medicine.
Beder, A., Büyükkoçak, Ü., Sabuncuoğlu, H., Keskil, Z. A., & Keskil, S. (2008). Preliminary report on surgical mask induced deoxygenation during major surgery. Neurocirugia, 19(2), 121-126.
Brosseau, L., & Sietsema, M. (2020). Commentary: Masks-for-all for COVID-19 not based on sound data. CIDRAP: Center for Infectious Disease Research and Practice. University of Minnesota, News and Commentaries.
Food and Drug Administration. (2020). N95 Respirators and Surgical Masks (Face Masks). Retrieved from https://www.fda.gov/medical-devices/personal-protective-equipment-infection-control/n95-respirators-and-surgical-masks-face-masks
Kim, J. M., Chung, Y. S., Jo, H. J., Lee, N. J., Kim, M. S., Woo, S. H., Park, S., Kim, J. W., Kim, H. M., & Han, M. G. (2020). Identification of Coronavirus Isolated from a Patient in Korea with COVID-19. Osong public health and research perspectives, 11(1), 3–7. https://doi.org/10.24171/j.phrp.2020.11.1.02
Lazzarino, A. (2020). Rapid Response: Covid-19: important potential side effects of wearing face masks that we should bear in mind. BMJ 2020;369:m1435. Retrieved from https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1435/rr-40

MacIntyre, C. R., Seale, H., Dung, T. C., Hien, N. T., Nga, P. T., Chughtai, A. A., ... & Wang, Q. (2015). A cluster randomised trial of cloth masks compared with medical masks in healthcare workers. BMJ open, 5(4), e006577.
Morris, J. (2020) Rapid response:more research is needed on their effect on the nasopharyngeal and oropharyngeal bacterial flora. BMJ 2020; 369:m435 retrieved from https://www.bmj.com/content/369/bmj.m1435/rr-47

World Health Organization. (2020). Advice on the use of masks in the context of COVID-19: interim guidance, 6 April 2020 (No. WHO/2019-nCov/IPC_Masks/2020.3). World Health Organization.



Oaholley said...

Angeleah Roberts is absolutely correct and her medical knowledge in this area is commendable.

Oaholley said...

Angeleah Roberts is absolutely correct and her medical knowledge in this area is commendable.

Unknown said...

To whom this may concern,

I am writing this letter to state my concerns I have in regards to the new regulations regarding COVID-19.  As a nurse practitioner student and currently practicing registered nurse, I am not only in the front lines of this illness, but I have also spent uncountable hours researching the pathophysiology, transmission, and complications of COVID-19.  

My concerns are the current requirement/recommendation of face coverings in public.  A recently performed study actually found both fabric and surgical masks to be ineffective in blocking the spread of sars-cov-2 from individuals infected with COVID-19.  (Bae, et al., 2020) This study has since been retracted due to limited participants, however it is the only study that has been performed using the actual sars-cov-2 virus.  Previous studies that have shown face masks to be effective were done mostly using the influenza virus, which creates particles much greater in size; 0.9-3.1 μm in diameter.  While the sars-cov-2 measures between 0.07-0.12 μm in diameter. (Kim, et al., 2020)  The FDA states that surgical masks are not designed to filter or block small particles that are transmitted by a cough or sneeze.  The loose fit between surgical masks and your face also decreases any protective properties. (FDA, 2020)  Even the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy states, "Sweeping mask recommendations—as many have proposed—will not reduce SARS-CoV-2 transmission, as evidenced by the widespread practice of wearing such masks in Hubei province, China, before and during its mass COVID-19 transmission experience earlier this year. Our review of relevant studies indicates that cloth masks will be ineffective at preventing SARS-CoV-2 transmission, whether worn as source control or as PPE." (Brosseau & Sietsema, 2020)

On top of being ineffective, the use of cloth masks may pose unnecessary health risks, such as respiratory illness.  One study showed that healthcare workers wearing cloth masks had more laboratory-confirmed respiratory infections than even those wearing no mask at all.  (Macintyre, et al., 2015)  Other health issues caused by wearing masks include; decreased oxygenation, increased heart rate, and increased carbon dioxide levels.  (Beder, et al., 2008)

Masks also create a humid habitat that allows sars-cov-2 to remain active in the water vapor that is produced with each breath, if the virus becomes contained in the mask, the viral load will quickly start to multiply.  A high viral load can quickly overcome the innate immunity and cause an increase in infections. (Lazzarino, 2020) One pathologist states that one of the leading causes in SIDS is toxins produced from viral respiratory infection combined with secondary bacterial growth from pathogens.  Many of these pathogens were found to be growing in the infant's mattress, where secretions from the infant's nose and mouth created a moist environment.  He goes on to state that there is great potential for bacterial pathogens to grow in the moist environment of masks if-then exposed to COVID-19; the inhalation of both bacteria and viruses can create the synergistic interaction that could lead to rapid deterioration and potentially cause sudden death. (Morris, 2020)

Unknown said...

https://naturallyhealthynews.com/masking-the-truth/

Unknown said...

Other than slavery, which was a different kind of restraint, coronavirus lockdown is the greatest intrusion on civil liberties in American History.
~U.S. Attorney General William Barr, 9/16/20
Masking is unlawful!

Luke said...

Provo City Council has become a band of 6 criminals and 1 defender of freedom. When gyms and restaurants requires you to walk 10 feet to scan your phone take your mask of and exercise or eat it is not about safety it is about control. The fact that you can legally walk in a public space without a mask and the second you enter any building or space the government controls your ability to choose to wear a mask without the business consenting means that we are allowing the government to control businesses I.E our economy. Covid cases and deaths are both on the decline yet the Provo city council feels the need to control its citizens for “safety” is a lie.

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