Park City-area businesses overwhelmingly say they will require masks after state mandate ends |

Park City-area businesses overwhelmingly say they will require masks after state mandate ends

Chamber/Bureau poll finds majority want a mask requirement to stretch until the end of May

Many people eventually wore masks during the Main Street pedestrian days in 2020 after there was limited use of the protective measure initially. A Park City Chamber/Bureau poll shows businesses strongly support mask wearing as the state readies to lift a mask mandate in April.
Park Record file photo

Park City-area businesses strongly support mask wearing as the state readies to possibly lift a mask mandate in April, a poll conducted by the Park City Chamber/Bureau shows, indicating that many would require masks even if the mandate ends.

The Chamber/Bureau poll was taken toward the end of the ski season and as businesses in the Park City area begin to make plans for the spring shoulder season and then the summer.

The Chamber/Bureau poll, which was not scientific, received responses from nearly 400 businesses. The membership covers businesses across the Park City area rather than the city itself. Much of the attention in the last year has been on the response by the resort industry and Main Street businesses to the spread of the novel coronavirus, but the survey provides a broader view of the business community. The information released by the Chamber/Bureau this week did not include a breakdown of businesses by location.

The results to the key questions, according to the Chamber/Bureau:

• 72% of the businesses that responded indicated they will require masks regardless of the lifting of the state mandate. The question did not probe details, such as the time period the businesses anticipated requiring masks.

• 68% of the businesses said a mask mandate should be continued in Park City and Summit County through May 31, at the earliest. The Chamber/Bureau said 3% opted to be neutral.

• 58% of the businesses said Park City and Summit County should not follow a rescinding of the state mask mandate, slated for April 10 under a bill recently passed by the Legislature but that had not been signed by the governor as of Friday morning. The Chamber/Bureau said 10% indicated they were neutral.

The more than 70% of the businesses that told the Chamber/Bureau they would require masks regardless of the lifting of the state mandate is an especially intriguing response. A business owner, as the person who sets policies at their establishment, can require mask wearing regardless of the end of any mandate.

A message from the Chamber/Bureau signed by the organization’s president and CEO, Jennifer Wesselhoff, outlining the results said “many of the concerns expressed in the survey regard the safety of your employees and the community.” The one-page message did not provide details.

The Chamber/Bureau said the survey was conducted after a request by City Hall and the County Courthouse. It is not clear how officials in Park City and Summit County will use the results, which were provided to officials at each of the government entities “as they seek more information and determine next steps, if any.”

Many Park City businesses have seen mask wearing as a key step in guarding against another broad shutdown like the one that forced an early end to the 2019-2020 ski season. The Park City economy has instead outperformed expectations since the summer.

Public health officials have said since the outset that mask wearing is an important step in curbing the spread of the sickness. There has been scattered resistance to mask wearing in Park City, though, including instances that ended with police involvement.

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