SALT LAKE CITY– Utah’s largest organization of physicians are urging Governor Gary Herbert to issue a statewide mask mandate to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
The Utah Medical Association (UMA) wrote the governor a letter calling for the mandate in response to a recent spike in COVID-19 cases within the state. The organization also adopted a new policy advocating for a statewide mandate until health professionals believe the virus is under control.
In the letter to the governor on Sep. 24, 2020, UMA encouraged the mandate because of data outlining its ability to reduce the transmission of COVID-19 and help the economy.
“Masks make a difference in the spread of the virus,” said UMA in the letter. “We need to keep the economy open and moving forward and wearing masks will help us do that.”
In a statement Monday, UMA said there’s a history of balancing public health and personal freedoms.
“Public health needs to be balanced against the freedom to do what we want. As a society, we have chosen to protect the public in many ways,” said UMA President Sharon R.M. Richens.
Richens provides the example of banning smoking indoors, drinking and driving, along with the mandatory use of seatbelts.
“We have done this all in the name of public health and the interest of the general public,” Richens explained. “The mandating of wearing a mask to prevent the spread of COVID-19 is just another good public health decision.”
Gov. Herbert continues to say a statewide mask mandate is an option, however, believes local governments should instate the requirement. He has mandated masks for those attending or working in a public K-12 school.
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