A new statement released by the First Presidency is asking members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints to wear masks while doing temple work.
The letter was sent to Church leaders around the world in response to concerns related to COVID-19. The letter expresses gratitude that temple work could continue in recent months in every temple, and Church leaders have a desire to keep temples open as COVID-19 cases increase in many areas.
“Effective immediately, all temple patrons and workers are asked to wear face masks at all times while in the temple. These safety protocols are temporary, based on COVID-19 conditions, and will be rescinded as soon as circumstances permit,” the letter said.
The First Presidency also reiterated their advice for Church members to be vaccinated against COVID-19. The letter references similar advice from Church leaders during previous pandemics, such as smallpox and polio.
According to state data, just 51.8% of all Utahns are fully vaccinated, with 58.5% having received at least one dose. Since June, vaccination rates have remained relatively stagnant across the state. With new concern about variants, Intermountain Healthcare also reported 87% of those on a ventilator are unvaccinated.