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Provo passes resolution on masks, but mandate will have to wait

PROVO, Utah – The Provo City Council has passed a resolution urging people to wear a mask while in the city. However, a mask mandate is not off the table. 

The city surveyed residents on their attitudes towards a mask mandate. They received 2,675 comments in just over a day, with 60% of people supporting a mandate. 

Brigham Daniels, who called into Thursday evening’s virtual council meeting, spoke in support of a mandate because he believes the city could experience an “explosion” of COVID-19 cases with more college kids coming back to campus. 

“These kids are going to be coming from all over the country, and young people are young people. They are really social. So, I think it’s highly likely that there’s going to be community spread at a level we have not seen,” Daniels said. 

Others echoed that sentiment, pointing to an underground event held a few weeks ago where hundreds of young people partied without masks. 

Not everyone, however, is supportive of a mask mandate. Others who phoned in called it unconstitutional. 

A professor at Brigham Young University, who did not give his name, felt a mandate from the city is not needed.

“You can’t go to the doctor without a mask. You can’t go to the grocery store without a mask. You can’t go to Walmart without a mask, or Home Depot or Lowe’s…So, we’re talking about a mandate for something that is unnecessary,” the professor said. 

He also pointed out that college campuses in the area also require them. 

The council decided to table the mask mandate until a meeting on Tuesday because it was unclear how it would be enforced. 

But not before council members like Shannon Ellsworth pushed back on the idea of a mask mandate being constitutional. 

“We require traffic signals and speed limits,” Ellsworth said. “And those are laws that make a dangerous activity less dangerous. And that is why we need masks, to make a dangerous pandemic less dangerous.”     

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