Monday, August 3, 2020

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    Gov. approves Grand mask mandate; specific order pending council vote

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    Men donned wooden masks and numerous layers of sweatshirts and ponchos then proceeded to hit each other with whips as they danced around the town square.
    Carter Pape
    Carter Papehttp://moabtimes.awebstudio.com/author/carter-pape/
    Reporter Carter Pape covers news out of the Grand County Council Chambers, including housing, tourism, crime, and more.
    Utah Gov. Gary Herbert wears a Utah-made mask with a depiction of Delicate Arch on it as he begins to speak during the daily COVID-19 briefing at the Capitol in Salt Lake City on Tuesday, April 28. Pool photo by Steve Griffin, Deseret News

    Utah Gov. Gary Herbert approved Thursday morning, July 2 a request from the Grand County Council to have a mask mandate in the area, but the specific mandate is not yet in effect and likely won’t be until next week, according to local officials.

    Orion Rogers, the environmental health director for the Southeast Utah Health Department, said the health department is currently drafting a specific order that the county council must then approve before it goes into effect. Rogers said the order will likely be a hybrid between orders made in Summit County and Salt Lake County last month.

    According to Grand County Council Chair Mary McGann, the county council will vote on the mask order during its regular meeting on Tuesday. She said she expected the draft order would be ready by the end of the day Thursday.

    Why the extra step?

    What the council voted to do at its previous meeting on Tuesday, June 30, was to ask Herbert’s permission to create a mask mandate. The resource-strained health department did not bring forward a specific order at the time for the sake of time management, according to Rogers.

    If the governor had declined Grand County leeway to establish a mask mandate, the time spent drafting a mask order would have been for naught, according to Rogers. Thus, the health department waited for a green light from Herbert before spending time drafting an order.

    Now that the county has the go-ahead, the council will return to the mask mandate subject during its upcoming meeting next week to vote on the specific order.

    Contrary to initial reports from other media outlets, the mandate will not go into effect in Grand County on Friday, July 3.

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