SALT LAKE CITY — The University of Utah announced that masks will no longer be required inside buildings on campus starting March 14 after students return from spring break.
The decision comes as COVID-19 infections and hospitalizations have declined significantly since their peak in January.
"As we enter the third year of the coronavirus pandemic, we are optimistic about the state of COVID-19 on our campus and in the community around us. We are in a very different place than we were just two months ago," the university said in a statement released Thursday. "The vast majority of our campus community has been vaccinated and received booster shots; and new therapies, including anti-viral medications, are now more readily available."
The CDC now classifies Salt Lake County’s community level of COVID-19 transmission as “medium.” At this level, the CDC recommends that people be careful, get vaccinated, and get tested if they become exposed but it doesn't recommend masks.
Additionally, the university said that starting March 14 the general public will not be required to wear masks in public facilities—including the Utah Museum of Fine Arts, Natural History Museum of Utah, and Pioneer Theatre. However, those who still wish to wear masks are encouraged to do so, especially those at high risk.
The new guidelines do not apply to health care facilities.
On Thursday afternoon, the Utah Department of Health reported 186 new COVID-19 cases statewide since the previous and 24 additional deaths.