Protesters Call on Leaders to Hold Special Meeting on Mask Mandate

It’s day one of the mask mandate in Salt Lake County, and as of Saturday night, it still stands.

The county council has not released a decision on whether it will hold a special meeting before its normal meeting on Tuesday to discuss letting it stay or overturning it.

2News spoke to people strongly opposing the mandate who gathered downtown to protest, along with others who said they feel masks will help.

Protesters Saturday chanted “Where is Cox?” calling on the governor to do take action.

Erin Longacre, a mom from Draper, said her children haven’t been wearing masks in school, and their case counts don’t warrant a mandate. She wants to see leaders overturn the county health department’s order.

“We didn’t elect Dunn. We elected our governor. And I just don’t think that he’s present at this time,” Longacre said.

The protest included around 50 others who were also looking for the attention of the county council, which can overturn the order.

They have been demanding the council meet as soon as possible and feel there is no reason leaders should wait until the council’s regular meeting on Tuesday.

Joy Bushnell lives in the Salt Lake Valley. She attended Hamilton at the Eccles Theatre Saturday night with her family and observed everyone inside the theater wearing masks. Bushnell said she empathizes with the frustration.

“We’re tired of this,” she said. “It’s exhausting. I wish it was over but it isn’t.”

Bushnell said she feels people should have a choice on the matter but does think that if everyone would wear a mask, we would be in a better position to fight the virus.

“I wear one every day,” she said. “I haven’t been sick in two years. I’m a nurse by trade. I’ve been a nurse for 36 years, so to me it’s important.”

Dobrin Dobrinov is the owner of Ascoli Espresso, an Italian-style coffee shop that opened almost a year ago in Salt Lake City. He shared with 2News that business has been down since the Christmas and New Year holidays.

Dobrinov said he believes a mask mandate could actually help business.

“A lot of our regular clients simply aren’t coming or working from home, so we’d love to be able to make sure we reassure our clients that we are safe,” Dobrinov said.

He said come Monday when they open, masks signs will be posted on the doors and his employees will be masked up.

In the meantime, the mandate stands, and all eyes remain on the county council and when it will meet. Ted Conger, who is against the mandate, hopes to attend in person.

“What a perfect study,” he said. “We’ve got the Salt Lake District that’s masked up and we have the other school districts that aren’t. Let’s take a look and see if there’s any difference.”

Gov. Spencer Cox cannot overturn the county’s mandate, but the legislature can. No word tonight if it will.

2News has not heard back after reaching out to each member of the county council, which can also overturn the mandate, to find out if they intend to meet before Tuesday.



Author: K J