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Utah’s Mask Mandate Set to Expire April 10 — Will Salt Lake County Institute Its Own?

An illustration of a diverse crowd in face masks.
stournsaeh/Getty Images/iStockphoto
Utah issued a statewide mask mandate on Nov. 8, 2020.

Utah’s statewide mask mandate is ending April 10, under a bill that Gov. Spencer Cox said he will sign. That legislation also allows county councils and commissions to pass their own mask requirements.

In Utah’s most populous county, health officials and politicians are still determining whether they want to keep it. Salt Lake County Health Executive Director Gary Edwards said his department is trying to figure out if one will still be necessary next month.

“It will certainly depend on where things are at that time,” Edwards said. “Are we continuing to head in the right direction or or is there reason for concern?”

He said right now he doesn’t know what that threshold is. Salt Lake County had its own mask mandate for roughly four months before the state did.

Republican county councilmember Aimee Winder Newton said she’s not sure what the county should do yet either. She said when April rolls around, she’ll be using the health department's recommendation, and COVID-19 data, to make her decision on a mandate. She promised not to let public pressure dictate her vote.

“We all want masks to come off,” Winder Newton said. “It feels like things are changing and looking up, which is great. But we also recognize that if we act too quickly on this and we haven't gotten enough people vaccinated and we still have COVID numbers out there that are putting people's health at risk, that we don't want to make any drastic decisions that are going to negatively impact that trajectory.”

The state health department is declining to comment on the mask mandate repeal until the governor signs the bill.

Sonja Hutson is a politics and government reporter at KUER.
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