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Provo encourages masks, will vote on mask mandate next week

Posted at 9:34 PM, Aug 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-20 23:34:15-04

PROVO, Utah — Provo City Council approved a resolution Thursday encouraging the wearing of face masks in public.

Yet, they stopped short of voting on a mask mandate which was tabled until Tuesday.

The emergency meeting comes amid concerns tens of thousands of college students are descending on the city this fall when classes begin at Brigham Young University on August 31.

“We are going to be a very different population in a couple weeks,” said Provo City Council Chair George Handley said.

Concerned about significant growth of COVID-19 off college campuses, some city council members expressed the need for a mask mandate against the wishes of the mayor and police chief.

The city council postponed the mandate citing the need for more public input. A record number of people expressed their opinion in an online survey. More than 2,600 people gave their response in about 24 hours.

“I think it is a good idea. I think it’s very important to keep from spreading COVID,” said Utah Valley University student Cecilie Watson.

“I think it would be a good mandatory precaution,” Nadia Thompson said.

Yet, about 20 percent argue it’s not a good idea.

“I think that people should be able to choose whether they wear a mask or not in public,” said Mark Phillips.

A study by BYU projected growth of the virus in the community without a mask mandate.

If a mask mandate is passed on Tuesday, enforcement would be up to the mayor.