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Utah pledges free masks for every Utahn

File photo: Steve Griffin, Deseret News

SALT LAKE CITY — The state of Utah, along with the Utah Manufacturers Association, Cotopaxi and 20 other manufacturers have purchased 2 million face masks that will be available to any Utahn for free as part of their ‘Mask for Every Utahn‘ project.

The announcement was made Tuesday by Gov. Gary Herbert. He says that this is a step toward a temporary new normal as the state prepares for a soft reopening on Friday.

Utah goes from “red to orange” in plan to eventually reopen businesses

Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox says that the project is funded through the federal Coronavirus Aid Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act. The Utah companies are participating at cost.

The governor says that any Utahn can request a mask, free of charge, at coronavirus.utah.gov/mask/

Priority will be given to Utahns who are working in an essential industry and vulnerable populations, including anyone over the age of 65.

“We want to do everything we can as we work together as a state to combat COVID-19,”  Herbert said on Tuesday.

“Wearing a mask when we are out in public may not be convenient, but it can help slow the spread of the virus. Let’s all do our part in stopping the spread and helping to protect those around us.”

State leaders also emphasized that this program is meant to provide access to masks to those who don’t already have access to one.

“Residents shouldn’t take or request a mask if they already have access to one and should not collect multiple masks for multiple uses,” Cox said.

He continued, saying that this program will help save 200 Utah jobs, many of which are in rural communities.

Most of the masks will be made of regular fabrics, and the state says that they already have a number of masks ready to ship now,  it may take up to three weeks to receive the masks in their next batch.

Once the 2 million masks are distributed across Utah, Cox says the program will cease, saying the state does not have the funds to continue to support the program forever.

“If everyone is wearing a mask — a cloth mask, a bandana, etc. — the purpose changes to protect others,” Cox said.

Cox pointed to countries like Taiwan, Japan and the Czech Republic, among others, that have used widespread mask wear to help stop the spread of the novel coronavirus.

“If we are all wearing masks, we know the measure of spread will go down significantly,” he said.

 

 


How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus

COVID-19 coronaviruses transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
  • Don’t touch your face.
  • Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
  • If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
  • Get a flu shot.
  • Wear cloth masks or face coverings when you’re out in public

Local resources

KSL Coronavirus Q&A

Utah’s Coronavirus Information

UtahState Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States