PROVO, Utah (AP) — The Provo Municipal Council has overridden a mayoral veto and implemented a mask mandate ahead of a new school year starting at Brigham Young University.
The Thursday 6-1 vote means people must wear facial coverings indoors and outdoors in public areas and at large gatherings during the pandemic, the Daily Herald reported. BYU's new school year begins Monday.
Council members had been concerned the city wasn't prepared for the influx of student from around the country. Mayor Michelle Kaufusi vetoed the mandate, saying people should be educated on why masks are important rather than required to wear them.
Council Chair George Handley said the override was not a “rift” in city leadership, and decried public anger on both sides.
The ordinance includes wearing face masks in public indoor spaces if social distancing isn’t possible, all indoor public gatherings of 50 or more regardless and all outdoor gatherings of 25 or more.
It carries a maximum $55 citation, and organizers of gatherings without masks can be fined $500.
Studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick, and experts say that masks slow the spread by blocking respiratory droplets that contain the virus. For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms but for some can cause more severe illness or death.