Ravell Call, KSL

Face masks distributed at recreation hot spots in time for Memorial Day

By Amy Joi O'Donoghue, KSL | Posted - May 23, 2020 at 9:01 a.m.

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah Office of Tourism is urging Memorial Day celebrants to show good stewardship when it comes to public lands, public health and community safety.

With that in mind, the office is teaming up in a collaborative effort in the distribution of a half-million face masks to communities near recreation hot spots, the national park system and Utah state parks.

“We should always be in the habit of having our face mask with us,” said Vicki Varela, managing director of the Office of Tourism. “There are still times in the outdoors when we need to put on our face masks, when we need to be prepared and show respect for other people.”

Moab received 85,000 face masks to distribute to businesses, residents and visitors. Arches and Canyonlands remain closed until May 29, but red rock country is gearing up for people to still come to the region for other recreation opportunities.

Another 100,000 face masks are being distributed in the Zion National Park region and 50,000 will go to the Bryce National Park area.

Both of those parks are open but with restrictions that include an idled shuttle service at Zion and closed visitor centers.


The Utah Division of Parks and Recreation is distributing 150,000 masks through its system of 44 parks. All of those parks remain open.

The distribution of masks came about as a combined effort of the Utah Leads Together Economic Task Force, Economic Development Corporation of Utah, the state tourism office, and the Utah Division of Parks and Recreation, along with donations from DPS Ski and private sector partners such as Goal Zero, Teton Sports and Gregory Mountain Products.

“We have been working really, really hard to make sure we have done all we can to prepare these communities that will have an influx of visitors, mostly Utahns,” Varela said.

“We need to ensure we have community safety and good stewardship of our public lands.”

The tourism office also advises those recreating in the outdoors to prepare for trips with adequate water, sunscreen, clothing and gear, to bring their own face mask, to maintain social distancing and arrive at popular sites early in the morning.

“Getting up early can change the quality of your experience. You are out there before there is too much heat, before the crowds and you have more space to savor your experience,” Varela said.

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