Moab Area Travel Council Executive Director Elaine Gizler and the business owners who sit on the board that oversees the council said Tuesday, May 12 that they were seeing many visitors coming to Moab decline to wear masks despite the COVID-19 pandemic and signage at businesses encouraging customers to use facial coverings.
“I have had comments from people indicating that visitors coming here are not wearing masks,” Gizler said of the matter. She said that it seemed to her that locals were making an effort to obtain and use masks when they have to go into public spaces but that visitors do not seem to be doing the same.
Board Chair Howard Trenholme, who owns Red Rock Bakery on Main Street, said during the meeting that it was “appalling” how few customers to his store were coming in with masks on.
“I always say the community is the reason we’re doing this; it’s not me, personally,” Trenholme said of his messaging on the matter. “The reason I’m wearing a mask is to protect Moab.”
Trenholme said that the people visiting Moab are “the ones not being cautious” about the pandemic and showing less concern over it. He said that he was trying to give nudges to those customers not wearing masks by thanking the ones who do use them.
“It’s pretty appalling right now the lack of respect to our community — or ignorance — I don’t know how else to phrase it,” Trenholme said.
Trenholme also pitched the idea of requesting the Utah Department of Transportation set up signage at either end of town, reminding or requesting visitors to use facial coverings. The signage would be similar to the signage used over the past couple of months to alert visitors when lodgings were closed.
“The tourists want to be here, and they think it’s over,” Trenholme said, referring to the pandemic. “They don’t realize the risk we as a community are facing by allowing visitors back into our community.”