Community members respond to Provo’s mask mandate

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Despite the city’s mask mandate, some residents choose not to wear face coverings. Provo residents have conflicting views about the City Council’s ordinance. (Photo illustration by Ashley Irwin)

Provo residents have mixed opinions regarding the citywide mask mandate passed by the City Council on Aug. 27. 

The mask mandate requires individuals over the age of 5 to wear a mask in public indoor areas where social distancing is not possible, at all indoor public gatherings of more than 50 people, and at outdoor public gatherings of more than 25 people where social distancing is not possible.

An online survey conducted by the city before the ordinance was passed found that out of 2675 respondents, about 60% were in favor of a mask mandate. Some of those in favor said they view wearing a mask as a minor inconvenience. 

“I know there is much debate about masks and effectiveness, but I’m willing to wear one because it’s not a huge deal that could help me be safe and safer towards others,” Edgemont Neighborhood resident Jake Johnson said. “Better safe than sorry.” 

Other proponents strongly support the City Council’s decision and view it as a necessary action to keep community members safe.

“It’s not fair to put someone else at risk because you don’t want to wear a mask,” Edgemont Neighborhood resident Cheyenne Mellor said. “My daughter only has one lung due to a past tumor. She is only two years old but cooperates in wearing a mask. I’m a little bugged when others don’t do the same.” 

Some opponents of the mask mandate aren’t necessarily against mask-wearing but think that it should be up to the individual to decide whether or not they will wear one. 

“In the current situation, I think the city government should educate and let people choose for themselves,” Fort Utah Neighborhood resident Rachel Pollock said. “I have friends and family who can’t wear masks for health reasons and have been treated unkindly by some in the community.” 

While the City Council’s ordinance stated that an individual could be fined up to $55 for violating the mandate, many residents on both sides of the debate agreed that it is unlikely to be enforced. 

“People know nothing will happen. I saw people at Smith’s who were carrying their mask but not wearing it, or not wearing it properly,” Joaquin Neighborhood resident Kim Mette said. 

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