As Logan prepares to welcome Utah State University students back next month, officials in the northern Utah college town are requesting permission from the governor to implement a mask mandate for their city.
“As you know, we are soon approaching the time for back to school-- for the university to resume classes and also the K-12 schools to go back to school,” said Logan Mayor Holly Daines to the City Council Tuesday evening. “If students are able to go back to school depends on the next month and how things go with the virus in our community.”
The mask mandate Daines is requesting would extend what is already in place on the campus of Utah State University to the rest of the community.
If approved by Gov. Gary Herbert, people would be required to wear masks both inside and outside when social distancing is not possible. While Daines said more people are wearing masks within the city, she believes there could be more compliance. No council members expressed opposition to this request.
Councilmember Amy Anderson said this measure would support the efforts people in the community are already taking to keep themselves safe.
“As a student or a teacher, if I have to do something seven or eight hours out of the day, but then go out into the community and not follow that, we're taking away lot of the benefit away for it," she said.
Councilmember Jess Bradfield said he would like to know if the mandate to wear masks could accompany the city going to the green risk phase so larger groups could gather.
“I’ve always thought if we could go to green, you could put me in a straight jacket," Bradfield said. "But I would like to be with some people again in bigger crowds.”
Daines said whatever happens will be at the discretion of the governor, but if a request is not made the mandate can not be considered.
“We're trying to be proactive and be get ahead of a little bit as schools start and as we try and allow our students to go back to school in some sort of fashion,” she said in response to Bradfield's question about going to the green-risk phase.
“I understand,” Bradfied responded. “I definitely want my kids back in school, that's for sure. I'm sure that the teachers there are much better than I.”
Daines said she will draft the letter this week and anticipates the council will find out next week whether or not they received approval.
Update: After the article was published, Jess Bradfield requested the following statement be included to clarify his stance: "I am for mandatory masks if we are allowed to go green or the school district allows in-person teaching. Logan residents have done a great job lowering the curve and statistics demonstrate our progress when case data is charted.
Many residents have strong feelings on both sides of this issue and I don't think we need to take a stand as a city and increase that tension unless we can show residents that there is a significant benefit that matches the weight of a government mandate. I think most residents would approve of this kind of compromise."