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Provo City Council overrides mayor’s veto of mask mandate

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Barret Pritchard, 8, puts on a mask while working at a lemonade stand with his sister in Provo.

Barret Pritchard, 8, puts on a mask while working at a lemonade stand with his sister in Provo on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. When asked how he felt about wearing a mask to school, the third grader said, “I wouldn’t care, I would still be glad that I had friends.” The Utah County Commission will hold meeting Wednesday whether to ask Gov. Gary Herbert to make a mask exemption for K-12 schools in Utah County.

Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

PROVO — The mayors rejected Wednesday a proposed city ordinance mandating people wear facial coverings indoors and outdoors in public areas and at large gatherings during the pandemic. 

But on Thursday, the City Council voted 6-1, with Councilman Travis Hoban against, to override the veto and pass the ordinance requiring masks in Provo.

Mayor Michelle Kaufusi vetoed the citywide mandate on Wednesday after the City Council voted unanimously in favor of it the day before, The Daily Herald reported. She argued she didn’t think it was necessary to have a law to force people to wear masks. 

The council’s override vote means the ordinance will be implemented ahead of the new school year at Brigham Young University that starts on Monday.

The ordinance includes wearing face masks in public indoor spaces if social distancing isn’t possible, indoor public gatherings of 50 or more regardless of social distancing and outdoors gatherings of 25 or more even with social distancing options. 

People who violate the ordinance will receive a maximum $55 citation, and those who organize large public gatherings without requiring masks will be fined $500.

Studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick. For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.