PROVO, Utah (AP) — The Provo city council will discuss a possible face-mask mandate and other coronavirus-prevention measures at an emergency meeting on Thursday, shortly before students begin returning to college classes.
The city isn't as well prepared as it should be for the return of Brigham Young University students Aug. 31, said Provo Municipal Council chairman George Handley, the Daily Herald reported. Students from around the country will be returning to campus and the community, where they'll eat in restaurants, take public transportation and more.
“There needs to be clear expectations by the city. We have a responsibility to be a leader. Provo and Orem need to take leadership in this,” Handley said.
Provo is now running an education campaign encouraging people to wear masks, but does not require them. Mayor Michelle Kaufusi is opposed to a mask mandate and firmly pushed back against the notion at a Tuesday meeting. Police Chief Rich Ferguson agreed.
“There are lots of players in this,” Kaufusi said during an exchange with a council member. “You’re treading on scary property where you’re going with this.”
About 60% of people in Provo are now wearing masks, below the 80% threshold needed to reduce COVID transmission and deaths, said BYU environmental science professor Ben Abbot, who completed an analysis of face-mask studies.