On Tuesday, members of the Logan City Council voted to extend Mayor Holly Daines’ citywide mask mandate until Oct. 15.
LOGAN – After prolonged public comment and some internal debate, the members of the Logan City Council voted unanimously Tuesday evening to temporarily extend Mayor Holly Daines’ citywide mask mandate through mid-October.
Although City Attorney Kimber Housley had advised that Logan was not legally required to seek public comment on the mask mandate, council members agreed to hold the public hearing to resolve concerns about the haste with which the mayor’s executive order was imposed on Aug. 1.
Council member Jeannie F. Simmonds noted that the city had received 150 e-mail messages in the past two weeks from local residents expressing their opinions about the mask mandate. Of that number, 95 cited the public health benefits of mandatory masks, while 55 opposed the mandate.
About 20 residents spoke during the nearly two-hour public hearing. The majority of them opposed the mask mandate on libertarian or emotional grounds. Those speakers’ opinions were applauded by spectators that the council members tried in vain to stifle.
Although the approval of the resolution to extend the mask mandate was clearly a foregone conclusion, council member Mark A. Anderson eloquently defended that decision.
“I have kids in school right now,” Anderson explained. “They are going to have to wear masks to enjoy the privilege of going to school … How can I, as a parent, ask them to wear a mask if I won’t wear one?
“The easiest, cheapest way to mitigate the risk (of spreading the coronavirus) is to wear a mask,” he added. “So the government is asking me to wear a mask. Doctors are asking me to wear a mask. Religious leaders are asking me to wear a mask — and not just my religious leaders, but all of them. Given all that, don’t we have a responsibility to make that little sacrifice?”
Under the resolution passed Tuesday, any individual within the city of Logan age 5 or older who is medically or psychologically able to tolerate a face covering shall be required to wear a mask of material and fit consistent with guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That mandate will apply whenever consistent social distancing of at least six feet is not possible, reasonable or prudent.
The resolution also included some compromises intended to make it more palatable to members of the city council.
Daines had sought to extend her emergency mask order until Dec. 31, but the resolution passed Tuesday will expire at midnight on Thursday, Oct. 15.
To assuage council member Jess W. Bradfield’s concerns about the original mask mandate’s potential to be enforced punitively, the council’s resolution includes no provisions for enforcement of any kind.
The resolution also directs the city of Logan to launch a community education program to spread awareness and scientific information about coronavirus mitigation techniques, including face coverings.
“The goal of the resolution,” the council members emphasized, “is to send a strong, clear message about the gravity of our current COVID circumstances and the importance of face coverings in effectively addressing this public health emergency …
“We encourage businesses, schools, universities, religious groups and other entities to provide face masks for patrons. We encourage residents to spread goodwill in our common goal to mitigate the negative impacts of the coronavirus.”