Monday, August 24, 2020

Resolution on the Necessity of Social Distancing and/or Mask Wearing

The Provo City Council met on Thursday, August 20, 2020, to discuss a potential resolution and an ordinance regarding social distancing and/or mask wearing to prevent the spread of COVID-19. They unanimously passed the following resolution:


WHEREAS, the State of Utah has been in a declared state of emergency due to novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) since March 6, 2020, which worldwide disease outbreak has been characterized by the World Health Organization as a pandemic; and

WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) advises that COVID-19 is easily spread through the air from person to person who are in close contact with one another; and

WHEREAS, federal, state, and local authorities have recommended that individuals limit public gatherings, wear face masks, and follow social distancing guidelines; and

WHEREAS, a BYU study, “Making sense of the research on COVID-19 and masks,” concluded that “masks could be one of the most powerful and cost-effective tools to stop COVID-19 and accelerate the economic recovery;” and

WHEREAS, another BYU study, “Provo City and BYU need to be Partners during COVID-19,” notes that while BYU has done extensive work to reduce the spread of COVID-19 through on-campus networks, the close proximity and interconnectedness of the students with the larger community off campus can seed larger outbreaks of the disease; therefore, the study recommends that masks be required in all businesses and enclosed spaces outside the home and that gatherings larger than 50 people not be permitted; and

WHEREAS, approximately 16,000 public school students and another 70,000 BYU and UVU students are returning to school over the next few weeks, most of whom will live, work, study, shop, and recreate in Provo and Orem, thereby expanding the interconnectedness of social networks and economic activity in our communities; and
WHEREAS, without greater compliance to the State’s “Phased Guidelines for the General Public and Businesses to Maximize Public Health and Economic Reactivation,” including social 36 distancing and the wearing of masks, to slow the transmission of COVID-19, the city, county, and state risk greater restrictions on business and school operations, and the corollary effects of such restrictions.

NOW, THEREFORE, be it resolved that we, the members of the Provo City Municipal Council, declare that this is a time to act collaboratively on behalf of others. It is the nature of a pandemic that only collective action that reaches high rates of compliance will ensure protection to the whole community and reduce the most significant risks to individuals. We call upon all persons who live, work, study, shop, or play in Provo City to accept personal responsibility to each do our part to follow public health guidelines to the best of their abilities and within reason. Specifically, we:

1. Believe it necessary that the following measures be implemented at the state, county, and municipal levels:

a. Require the wearing of face masks at any public spaces, public buildings, and public events where social distancing is not reasonable, possible, or prudent; and

b. Require the wearing of masks at any indoor gathering over 50 persons regardless of whether social distancing can be observed and encourage the same for smaller gatherings where social distancing is not possible; and

c. Require the posting of signage at all entrances to public spaces and public buildings, and encourage the same with local businesses requiring the wearing of face masks where social distancing is not reasonable, possible, or prudent; and

d. That these additional public health guidelines remain in effect so long as the state, county, or city declared public health emergency continues; and

2. Call upon Provo City Mayor Kaufusi and her Administration to:

a. Take every necessary and reasonable action to educate, exhort and help our residents, businesses, and visitors comply with comprehensive social distancing and public masking protocols that address the immediate public health concerns; and

b. Expand the City’s Mask -Up information campaign to spread awareness and increase compliance with the State of Utah’s “Phased Guidelines for the General Public and Businesses to Maximize Public Health and Economic Reactivation” and to request the appropriation, if necessary, of funds necessary to support this effort; and

c. Coordinate the City’s efforts with local universities and public schools and neighboring towns.

3. Call upon all persons who live, work, study, shop, or play in Provo City to:

a. Take this COVID-19 crisis seriously and comply with public health protocols – not just for one’s own sake, but also to protect our fellow citizens and allay their fears. We urge everyone, except those who for medical or mental health reasons cannot or should not, to wear masks in public for the benefit of others, which we believe to be a moral and community health imperative for all of us at this critical time; and

b. Be respectful of those persons whose opinions and health issues are different than your own on these public health measures; and

c. Follow the directives of our elected state and local leaders, and our state and county health departments, relying upon the common sense and charitable character of Provo’s citizens, with the hope that the COVID-19 infection rate does not increase to such an extent that more restrictive measures become a public health necessity.

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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.


Unknown said...

This sounds like a power grab. The second wave of Covid infections yielded a much lower death rate because doctors are quickly learning better treatment methods. Any third wave activity will pose no meaningful risk. I urge a no vote on ANY mandate because if the mask mandate doesn't satisfy the insatiable, Provo leaders will then find a way to justify MORE mandates. Let mask wearing be a matter of free will.

Unknown said...

A lower death rate. That’s your argument??? How selfish people can be. We need to protect the citizens. That is the reason for masks. Stop all this selfish behavior and think of your neighbor.

Unknown said...

I am over 65 and work in Provo. With over a 99% rate of survival for people who do contract this cold virus, your decision to mandate mask wearing is ludicrus. Why don't you show some real leadership? The governor was just given a vote of no confidence by the state legislature and apparently has just reinstated the state of emergency just because all the other states are doing it. Really? (Can't miss out on all that emergency funding, right?) People can take their less than 1% chance at catching covid-19 on their own without your help by choosing how they live their own lives - whether or not to go out on public, whether or not to wear a mask. And slapping fines at people for failure to comply appears to be more an interest in getting more money for Provo and or attempting to force and harass people than a concern for people's health. Sorry. Rotten tomatoes for this proposal.

Celia said...

I agree rotten tomatoes! I am 58 and retired working part time. I mentally can't accept being forced to wear a mask or be fined! I saw a clip Anthony Fauci stating mask don't do anything to stop the spread of the virus. When we wear masks we breath in our own virus's, it isn't healthy. It's like wearing a diaper on your face not to mention you see no ones smiles. I see added litter all over Provo. I went for a four block walk and saw two masks on my way. What a disgusting thought,"what if these masks have the virus on them?" Should not littering of these masks be addressed? We already have a litter problem and masks are adding to it!

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