Logan is the second city in Utah to institute a mask mandate. The mandate was approved by Gov. Gary Herbert on Thursday and will go into effect on Saturday at 12:01 a.m.
“It is a little bit proactive because our numbers are reasonable,” Logan Mayor Holly Daines said in a press conference on Thursday, “but I think an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Daines once again stated the purpose of the mandate is to help keep cases in the city low, especially since thousands of Utah State University students will begin returning next month. She said efforts to retain in-person learning in schools is one of her highest priorities, and according to Logan’s Superintendent, the next month is “critical” to ensure schools reopen as planned.
“I want that to happen,” she said. “I want there to be in-person learning. I want our businesses to stay open and our economy to continue going so we don't have these shutdowns again.
Although the overall purpose of the mandate is for education and consistency between schools and the rest of the community, Daines said if someone is a repeat offender or is extremely belligerent, it is possible they could be cited with a Class B Misdemeanor for the offense.
Those who have a medical or psychological reason for not wearing a mask, as well as children under age five, are exempt from the mandate. Masks are not required in cases where maintaining a 6-foot-distance is possible, especially when outside, though Daines recommends carrying a mask just in case social distancing becomes a challenge.
The mandate has been met with mixed emotions ranging from support to calls to boycott businesses in the city for those without a mandate, and it appears unlikely that the Cache County Council will request a similar mandate.
In an interview with The Herald Journal prior to the Daines’s letter requesting the mandate, Dr. Ed Redd, an internal medicine physician in Logan, said wearing masks should be a community effort.
“I think it's just about trying to help each other out in sort of a community type setting, and trying to help each other the best we can and not get sick until we can get herd immunity,” Redd said, “or until we can get a vaccine available to help us prevent spreading to people who would have a really hard time with the illness.”
Bear River Health Department spokesperson Josh Greer said the mandate doesn’t change what local health officials recommend in order to stay safe, such as proper mask wearing, physical distancing of at least 6 feet from others, frequent hand washing and self-isolating when feeling ill.
The current mask mandate will last 30 days, but Daines said she will request the Logan Municipal Council extend the measure to coincide with USU’s decision to make masks mandatory through the end of the year.
Springdale in Southern Utah is the only other city with a mask mandate. In Salt Lake and Summit counties, county-wide mandates are in effect.
This story was produced as part of a community partnership between Utah Public Radio and The Herald Journal.