Local elected officials issued a proclamation Monday suggesting that goodwill and unity are as important a part of coronavirus response as a mask mandate.

CACHE COUNTY – More than a dozen local elected officials have joined together to issue a Proclamation of Goodwill and Unity.

“We recognize that every individual, every family and every organization is evaluating the risk of the COVID virus against other potential risks, be they mental health and well-being, economic or other priorities and needs,” the proclamation reads. “No one person or entity has all the answers. We validate the efforts of people and families doing their best against the individual needs and demands of all the other externalities of life. We call for kindness and understanding as each person takes actions and precautions they deem necessary and important.”

Cache County Council member Gina Worthen explains that the proclamation “was spurred by the division we are seeing in the community over COVID measures. We want to encourage kindness, patience, understanding and the spirit of volunteerism that has worked so well for us.”

The proclamation was signed by Worthen and fellow county council members David Erickson, Paul Borup and Gordon Zilles, plus 10 Cache Valley mayors.

Those additional signers are Mayor David Wood of Amalga, Mayor Craig Hidalgo of Clarkston, Mayor Sharidean Flint of Hyde Park, Mayor Kelly Field of Lewiston, Mayor David Hair of Millville, Mayor Shaun Dustin of Nibley, Mayor John Drew of Providence, Mayor Jeff Barnes of Smithfield, Mayor Lynn Payne of Trenton and Mayor Thomas Bailey of Wellsville.

The proclamation was issued Monday, on the eve of a public hearing scheduled by the Logan City Council prior to voting on a request by Mayor Holly Daines to extend her citywide emergency mask mandate until Dec. 31.

“Since the pandemic began,” the proclamation continues. “We have learned that the simplest strategies – such as physical distancing, hand-washing and self-quarantining when sick – have the greatest impact in preventing community spread … We acknowledge that face coverings are also a component of the broader risk mitigation strategy.

“There may come a time when mandates and more extreme measure must be taken. Such action should allow for public hearings and thorough legislative process whenever possible. Cache Valley is experiencing low mortality rates, low infection rates and low community spread. We do not believe these facts rise to the level where extreme government mandates are needed.

“We also observe that mandates without any legislative action become a source of division in our community, eroding the goodwill and unity that play such an integral part of our success.”

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