As Utah prepares to start reopening its businesses, the state is making sure anyone who wants a mask will get one.
Gov. Gary Herbert announced the project, called “A Mask for Every Utahn,” on Tuesday.
“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 i 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.”
With funding provided by the federal CARES Act, the state was able to buy two million face masks from the Utah Manufacturers Association and Cotopaxi, a Utah-based outdoor retailer. The masks, which will all be made in Utah, are keeping 200 Utahns employed as well, according to a news release.
The masks, made out of cloth and washable, will be mailed to residents who fill out the online order form. As it could take up to three weeks for the masks to be delivered, the first shipments will go out to essential workers and vulnerable populations, such as the elderly.
Utah, which as of Wednesday evening had 4,497 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 45 deaths, is advising residents to wear masks in public as the state eases up on its “Stay Safe, Stay Home” directive. On Tuesday, Herbert announced that the state would move from high risk to moderate risk status starting on Friday.
“Wearing a mask in public will be the new norm, at least until we have a vaccine for COVID-19, to help protect health and foster economic recovery,” a statement from Herbert’s office said.
Restaurants will be allowed to open their dining rooms on May 1 “with extreme precaution.” Gyms and personal services businesses like hair salons can also reopen Friday with social distancing, according to the state’s moderate risk guidelines.