To help Utah communities combat the spread of COVID-19, and as part of its “A Mask for Every Utahn” initiative, the state of Utah has shipped boxes of #MaskUtah masks to Associated Food Stores, Smith’s Food and Drug stores and other retail establishments throughout the state. Grocery stores that serve vulnerable or underserved populations are being prioritized for mask distribution.

This project is a collaborative partnership between the Governor’s Office of Economic Development (GOED), Associated Foods, Utah Food Industry Association and Kroger to help protect customers and store associates. Masks will be distributed at grocery stores and pharmacies, hardware stores, convenience stores and other retail outlets.

Customers can request a reusable cloth mask by visiting a customer service station at participating retail outlets.

“For Utahn’s who haven’t been able to make or locate a face covering, the distribution of #MaskUtah masks to grocery stores and other retail outlets in Utah provides one more way the state is utilizing federal CARES Act funds to help Utahns and respond to the coronavirus pandemic,” said Ben Hart, deputy director at the Governor’s Office of Economic Development and the state worker leading the initiative. “Using a face covering in public is a gesture of respect for those around you, and an essential part of limiting the spread of COVID-19.”

“As local grocers, we are pleased to help our communities by partnering with other groups to distribute these critical defenses throughout the state of Utah,” said David Rice, senior vice president retail coordination for Associated Food Stores. “Just as a grocery store cannot succeed without each team member and department’s contribution, we recognize the same is true for us as citizens. We need one another to combat this illness to return to our 'new normal' as quickly as possible.”

For this initiative, 1.25 million #MaskUtah masks are being made in-state, by Utah manufacturers. "A Mask for Every Utahn" has saved or created 300 jobs in the state, according to the Utah Manufacturers Association, the primary organization that partnered with the state on the initiative.

“Under this new normal, Smith’s is constantly monitoring and evolving our pandemic preparedness plan. We are pleased to partner with the state of Utah to distribute face masks to our customers,” said Aubriana Martindale, Smith’s spokesperson. “As the country moves toward reopening, we will continue to safeguard our customers’ health and well-being. We are all in this together as we work to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 and ensure our shared communities’ safety.”

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