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Residents have doubts about the Utah County mask mandate

(Students walking around Utah Valley University in Orem, some with masks, many others without. Credit: Kristin Murphy, Deseret News, Sept. 23, 2020)

LEHI – Will locals comply with the Utah County mask mandate? Some residents believe there will still be plenty of resistance to wearing them. 

If you walk around Lehi, you may still see many people without a face covering.  Some people tell KSL they forgot about the new mandate, while others have a mask but only wear it when they approach another person.

One woman says she doesn’t believe the mandate is truly necessary, but she’ll strive to follow it as best as she can.  However, she has a lot of friends and family members who will push back on the county’s decision.

“I come from a conservative type of situation, so I hear more of the disagreement,” she says.

Others believe people will come up with reasons not to follow the mandate when they actually can.  For instance, one woman says someone can simply get around the mandate by claiming they have a medical condition.

She asks, “How are you going to check that?  I could just tell you I have a medical reason.”

Will the new mandate actually sway the opinions of those who oppose wearing them?  Some residents doubt it.  One man says it’s a polarizing issue, and minds are already made up.

“There are few borderline people.  People who are wearing them are wearing them, and people who are not are making a point of not wearing them,” he says.

The Utah County Sheriff’s Office announced they can’t really enforce any kind of mask mandate, and officials from the Utah County Health Department say they have no intention of citing or fining people who aren’t covering their face.  Instead, health workers are going to try a tactic similar to the one being used in Salt Lake County.  Department Spokesperson Aislynn Tolman-Hill says they’re going to use positive messages to try and encourage people to don the mask.

 “There are really good studies showing people are more likely to wear their mask as they come into an establishment [requiring masks],” Tolman-Hill says.  “Lots of times, [people] will just forget.”

She says a lot of this effort will fall on business owners, so they’re asking them to require masks in their stores and to post signs on their front windows to remind everyone to wear them.

“We’re working on making those signs available that businesses will be able to download,” she says.



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