SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County officials reiterated Thursday that children over 2 are required to wear face masks when outside and in school due to a rise of COVID-19 cases.
Mayor Jenny Wilson, along with County Health Department Director Gary Edwards and Taylorsville Mayor Kristie Overson, held a briefing to clear up some of the confusion over the county's mask order. Wilson realized there was confusion over the mandate that was put into place earlier this year.
“Just as Utah County has clarified that everyone in the outdoors, if they can’t social distance, needs to wear a face covering, we too are clarifying our language,” said Mayor Wilson.
Wilson says a mask must be worn in any setting where social distancing isn't an option.
“Face coverings are mandatory for any individual within Salt Lake County who is age two and over and able to medically or psychologically tolerate a face covering, shall be required to wear a face covering that completely covers the nose and mouth when in any public area including outdoors, when non-household members are present and social distancing is not possible,” said Wilson.
A new order, with the correct wording is being signed Thursday and will remain in place until January.
“...we’ve heard of issues at our school football games and some other gatherings with kids where in the outdoors, face coverings are not being worn, we know that that increases risk and the point here is not to be punitive, you know I wish we had other options right now during COVID-19, but we simply don’t, we need to battle and we need to continue to battle this challenge,” said Mayor Wilson.
In the announcement, Wilson said "this isn't the year for the big parties," and that school's can create settings for students that are safe. Where football games are being played, all those who attend, including players and coaches, will be required to wear masks.
Wilson says that with a spike in COVID-19 cases in schools, the concern becomes the spread to families and who students come in contact with after classes end for the day.
A social media campaign has been created to help drive the message for children to "Mask Up or Miss Out" when they leave the house.
“ I think the schools have the ability to create settings that are safe and make sure that kids, as of now required in every instance have a face covering on when they’re together,” said Wilson.