SALT LAKE CITY — Chris Peterson, the Democratic candidate for Utah governor, is criticizing the state's handling of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Peterson held a news conference on State Street on Wednesday morning. With Temple Square as a backdrop, he pointed to the historic 1983 floods that led to volunteers sandbagging along the road to keep flood waters at bay.
"I brought us here to this spot because I’m trying to get everyone to come together and recognize that when we have a natural disaster, we have to pull together and use the technology and resources we have at hand," he told reporters.
Peterson then shifted to a call for the current administration of Governor Gary Herbert and Lt. Governor Spencer Cox (his Republican opponent) to implement policy ideas he's proposing to deal with the current "natural disaster" in COVID-19, starting with a statewide face covering mandate.
"I’m a liberty loving and a freedom loving guy. We leave the details of enforcement to the team the governor has assembled. I'm confident the governor and Lt. Governor Cox with their team can assemble a reasonable path to enforcing a mask mandate," Peterson said. "Our key point today is we need to go forward and implement that mask mandate immediately."
Peterson also called for stockpiling N-95 masks for first responders and better COVID-19 testing and contact tracing options.
"Just as he did during the primary election, Lt. Gov. Cox won’t be politicizing the response to COVID-19. He will continue working closely with the Governor, Legislature, medical professionals and community and business leaders," said Austin Cox, the campaign manager for Lt. Gov. Cox, in a statement to FOX 13.
In addition to calling on the current administration to do more, Peterson's running mate, Karina Brown, also asked Utahns to step up.
"Utahns have come together in the past to overcome difficult challenges and now is the time to unite in our effort to stop the spread of the coronavirus," she said.