Utah planning to provide face masks to every resident

Utah planning to provide face masks to every resident
© Cameron Lancaster

The state of Utah, in response to the coronavirus pandemic, will provide a face mask to any resident unable to get one, Gov. Gary Herbert’s (R) office announced Wednesday.

Herbert and Lt. Gov. Spencer J. Cox said the "A Mask for Every Utahn" program will be accomplished through a partnership with the Utah Manufacturers Association and Cotopaxi, through which the state bought a total of 2 million masks. Herbert’s office said the state’s order will also allow the continued employment of more than 200 Utahns in manufacturing jobs.

The governor’s office said in its announcement that funds from the federal CARES Act will pay for the masks, with the Utah Manufacturers Association producing 1.5 million and Cotopaxi manufacturing the remaining 500,000.

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The state will provide one mask to any resident who requests one and mail up to six masks on request to each residential address in the state, with priority given to vulnerable populations such as those 65 and older and essential employees returning to work.

“We want to do everything we can as we work together as a state to combat COVID-19,” Herbert said in a statement. “Wearing a mask when we are out in public may not be convenient, but it can help slow the spread of the virus. Let’s all do our part in stopping the spread and helping to protect those around us.”

The governor’s office said the state will also distribute masks to first responders through state emergency management agencies, and requested that residents who can obtain a mask by other means not ask for one or sell or give masks to others. The state also plans to make masks available through underserved populations through nonprofits in the coming weeks and at grocery and convenience stores.

Utah has 4,233 confirmed cases of the virus as of Wednesday as well as 41 deaths.