‘I don’t think it’s too much to ask’: Town of Springdale to require face masks

Springdale Town Hall, Springdale, Utah, date not specified | St. George News

ST. GEORGE — At the request of the Springdale Town Council, and with approval from Gov. Gary Herbert, the Utah Department of Health, and recommendation from the Southwest Utah Public Health Department, Springdale will now be requiring people wear face masks in certain spaces beginning July 3.

Face masks | Photo by Muhammad Rizwan from Pixabay, St. George News

According to a press release, Herbert approved the town’s request for exemption to Utah Code Section 53-2c-103 (SB3004) allowing Springdale to be more restrictive than state recommendations.

The new rule requires that face coverings are worn within the Town of Springdale in retail and commercial establishments, restaurants while waiting to be seated and served, and at community gatherings.

“Studies have shown the effectiveness of face coverings in reducing the transmission of COVID-19, and this approval will positively affect the community’s ability to keep businesses staffed and open,” the press release said.

The press release continued:

As the gateway community to Zion National Park, Springdale has seen a large increase in visitation from people outside the area. The face covering requirement reinforces the community’s commitment to public health and safety for both residents and visitors. Social distancing measures will also be strongly promoted as a means to limit exposure.

In an email to St. George News, Springdale Mayor Stan Smith said the effort to have masks required was spearheaded by Town Council member Suzanne Elger though the press release said the efforts were initiated by the whole council.

“The exemption request was initiated by the Springdale Town Council and communicated to the Southwest Utah Public Health Department by Mayor Stanley J. Smith on behalf of the Town Council,” the press release said.

Elger said that the reason the request was pushed forward was because it became apparent that they needed to act to protect the health of town residents, visitors and staff of Springdale businesses. Without enough staff, Elger said, there would be no businesses.

Springdale’s iconic entrance sign greets over 4 million visitors per year, Springdale, Utah, March 4, 2020 | Photo by Reuben Wadsworth, St. George News

While the mandate could have the potential to impact businesses, Nate Wells, president of the Zion Canyon Visitor’s bureau said the feedback they have gotten from guests and visitors who have been encouraged to wear masks has been positive overall.

In addition to his position as president of the visitor’s bureau, Wells is the general manager of Zion Canyon Village, which includes, Zion Outfitters, Zion Canyon Brew Pub, Cable Mountain Lodge and the Happy Camper Market as well a coffee shop and gift shop.

Wells, who interacts with guests and visitors on a daily basis, said that while mask wearing at Springdale businesses has only been highly encouraged thus far, guests seem to feel more comfortable with the idea that businesses are taking their health and safety seriously.

People are grateful we are looking out for their safety. We are welcoming people from all over the country, and it really does make sense,” Wells said.

He added that more and more visitors seem to be carrying masks with them and complying with businesses who request they wear them.

Wells said they want to continue to welcome visitors to Zion Canyon, and if the consensus of the health experts is that people should wear a mask, then he thinks they should wear a mask.

“As far as the Town Council requesting that,” Wells said, “I don’t think it’s too much to ask.”

Updated 5:15 p.m.: Latest local numbers.

St. George News weekend editor/reporter Chris Reed contributed to this story.

COVID-19 information resources

St. George News has made every effort to ensure the information in this story is accurate at the time it was written. However, as the situation and science surrounding the coronavirus continues to evolve, it’s possible that some data has changed.

We invite you to check the resources below for up-to-date information and resources.

Southern Utah coronavirus count (as of July 2, 2020, one-day increase in parentheses)

Positive COVID-19 tests: 1,584 (31 new)

  • Washington County: 1,245 (17 new)
  • Iron County: 308 (13 new)
  • Garfield County: 15 
  • Kane County: 7 (1 new)
  • Beaver County: 9  

Deaths: 11 

  • Washington County: 9 
  • Iron County: 1
  • Garfield County: 1

Hospitalized: 20 (5 new) 

Tested: 21,018 (0 new tests)

Recovered: 908 (31 new)

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2020, all rights reserved.

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