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New Utah public health order formalizes COVID-19 'endgame' policies, exceptions

Virus Outbreak masks crowd
Posted at 8:39 PM, Apr 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-10 18:50:30-04

SALT LAKE CITY — While Utah's statewide mask mandate will be lifted Saturday, a new public health order to replace the expiring version still requires face coverings in certain public places.

The new order formalizes many of the facets included in the COVID-19 "endgame" bill, which was passed in the 2021 legislative session and signed by Gov. Spencer Cox.

The new law set April 10 as the date for the statewide mask mandate to be lifted — which Cox negotiated with the legislature as he believed they "had the votes to override a veto for an immediate end to masks."

READ: What does the end of Utah's mask mandate mean for you?

The new order takes effect Saturday and will remain in place until June 15, the health department said, "unless otherwise modified or amended."

As previously reported but made official Friday evening with the release of the Utah Department of Health's latest public health order, masks will still be required for "organized events," which the order defines as:

  • In-person
  • Coordinated by an event host
  • 50 or more people in attendance
  • If an "attending individual is unable to physically distance at least six feet from another individual who is not a member of the individual’s party."

READ: In Utah tourism hotspot Moab, the mask mandate remains

Event organizers still must fulfill certain requirements, the new order states — both universally across the state and specific requirements depending on the county's transmission level.

The full public health order lists the following requirements for event organizers, regardless of county:

  • Complete and implement the Event Management Template provided by the Department
  • For any area of the venue of the organized event that includes a restaurant, comply with applicable restrictions
  • Require each individual attending the organized event to wear a face mask, including in an area of ingress or egress
  • Post conspicuous signage at the organized event that:
    • Lists COVID-19 symptoms
    • Asks individuals experiencing COVID-19 symptoms to stay home
    • Provides notice of face mask requirements and, where applicable, physical distancing requirements

The order also maintains requirements for event hosts in moderate and high transmission counties, including:

  • On the day of the event, each attendee must confirm that they do not have any COVID-19 symptoms and are not under an isolation or quarantine requirement
  • Within 24 hours of receiving notice that an attendee of the organized event tested positive for COVID-19, notify each attendee who was within six feet of the positive case for more than 15 minutes cumulatively.

In moderate counties, any attendee who removes their mask to eat or drink must stay six feet away from anyone in a "separate party." In high-transmission counties, the host must require six feet of distance between people from separate parties — unless granted an exception from a county executive.

The order specified, however, that these requirements do not apply to religious services, gatherings at private residences, or events held "for a non-commercial purpose."

It also keeps in place previous transmission index levels for individual counties, which are based on coronavirus test positivity rates, case numbers per capita, and statewide intensive care unit usage.

The public health order can be read in full here.

K-12 schools will require masks through the end of the current school year. A determination has not been made for the beginning of the next school year in the fall.