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Provo mayor to veto mask mandate

PROVO, Utah – Provo Mayor Michelle Kaufusi says she will veto a mask mandate the city council passed unanimously during Tuesday’s meeting. 

The mandate requires masks to be worn in public indoor places where social distancing is not possible or more than 50 people are inside, and outdoors if more than 25 people are present and social distancing is not possible. 

People who are working outdoors in “strenuous conditions”, have a medical condition, are gathering with their family, or under the age of five would be exempt. 

Those who violate the mask mandate could be fined $55, while someone who organized a large gathering but failed to enforce the mandate could face $500 in fines.

During Tuesday’s four hour meeting, where the mandate was tweaked and members of the public also gave their input, many council members expressed concern about the thousands of college students who will be coming back to campus next week.

However, Mayor Kaufusi disagreed with a face-covering requirement. 

Provo Mayor says she will veto

“You and I have the same destination in sight. Where we part is how we get there,” Kaufusi said. 

The mayor spoke out in favor of the Mask Up! public education campaign, saying it has helped keep Provo in the yellow level. 

She believes it will help keep the people safe when students return to school.

“Let’s enhance our campaign. Let’s redouble our efforts. Let’s engage incoming students and help more and more Provo residents choose to wear a mask,” Kaufusi said. 

But, Councilor Dave Sewell said he is still worried. 

“The scientific evidence [for mask mandates] is strong, and what we’re doing will make a difference…And I think the resistance is largely a cultural and political issue to some extent,” Sewell. 

Although the vote for the mandate was unanimous, Councilor Travis Hoban questioned how the mandate could be enforced when police and some small businesses have voiced opposition to it. 

He also got the council to add a sunset date to the mandate. 

Even though Kaufusi has said she will veto the mandate, the council can still override it at their next meeting.

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