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Grand County latest to request power to mandate masks in Utah

FILE - In this April 21, 2020 file photo Utah Gov. Gary Herbert speaks during a news conference in South Jordan, Utah. The state will remain at its current yellow, low-risk phase of its COVID-19 response plan, Gov. Gary Herbert announced Friday. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer,File)

MOAB, Utah — Grand County officials are asking Gov. Gary Herbert for the power to mandate the use of face masks in public, KSL has learned. 

The request for a new public health order would look a lot like those already enacted for Salt Lake and Summit Counties, according to Grand County Council Chair Mary McGann.

“We’re really pleased that those counties had the courage to ask for it, and hopefully they will, because the governor has allowed two counties, that he will also allow ours,” McGann said. 

Grand County, which hosts both Arches and Canyonlands National Parks, depends on tourism for its economy. 

“They’re afraid, with all the people from all over the country coming here, you see, from New York, Alabama, California, Washington, ” McGann said. “Now that everybody’s going to be required to wear masks, they think that they will be safe if they come and visit.” 

The governor says he expects to consider the request over the next couple of days before making a decision and says if the data warrants the request, it will be granted. 

“We’ve granted that permission to Summit and Salt Lake County. That is the process, the ability for local governments to say what is best for our region of the state. They know best the impacts of the coronavirus on their local community and probably what needs to be done to stop the spread.

“They then work with their local health department, who work with the state health department. As we analyze the facts we make a decision. We just heard about this request from Grand County. They will go through the process now with their local health department interfacing with our state health department.

We’ll meet in the next couple of days and make a decision. If the data warrants the request, they’ll be granted the request. But I don’t want to presuppose it. We’ll go through the process and decide in the next couple of days whether it should be mandatory in Grand County where you can’t social distance to wear the mask,” Herbert says.