NewsCoronavirusLocal Coronavirus News


Utah counties deciding whether to continue with mask mandates past Saturday

Coronavirus Mask
Posted at 10:09 PM, Apr 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-06 01:44:01-04

It's a big week for masks in Utah. Come Saturday, covering your face in public will no longer be a requirement across the state.

But each county still has a choice to enact its own county-wide mandate — to be decided by county councils and commissions.

While some county commissions told Fox 13 they will not extend any mask mandate after the state order expires on April 10, other county commissions have not yet decided which direction to take.

Salt Lake County--Undecided

With less than five days until the big mask expiration date, Salt Lake County Council Member Aimee Winder Newton explained how people have been reaching out, wondering what's going to happen.

"I've been getting a lot of calls today specifically from different people, asking about the mask mandate," she said.

While the decision is up to the Salt Lake County Council, she explained how they're leaning on the Salt Lake County Health Department for that answer. They know the health department is closely following the numbers and data.

"We'll be waiting to hear from our health department director, to see if he recommends that we extend a mask mandate or not," she said.

On Monday, Winder Newton said found out from the Salt Lake County Health Director that the recommendation should be ready on Wednesday.

"If he asks for the Council to not do a mask mandate, no further decision will need to be made. That will be the final decision," Winder Newton said. "If he recommends a mask mandate, then the Salt Lake County Council will be meeting on Friday to decide if they want to have a mask mandate go forward."

Regardless of the recommendation and decision, Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson issued a statement Monday night, calling on residents to continue wearing face masks in public and urging businesses to continue with mask policies.

"'Let’s not lose the game in the 8th inning,'" she wrote. "'Let’s not spike the ball before the end-zone,' or in honor of tonight’s college basketball final, 'Let’s not walk off the court before the shot goes in.'"

Wilson wrote that at most, only 32 percent of Salt Lake County residents are immune to COVID-19.

"We are closing in on the end of this challenge," Wilson continued. "Let’s live what we all know works and continue to wear masks until our workers and kids get vaccinated or until herd immunity is reached.”

She also posted a video on Twitter.

Weber County--Undecided

The Weber County Commission appears to be in the same boat of uncertainty as the Salt Lake County Commission.

"In working closely with our Health Department, we will continue to keep an eye on the numbers and make a decision in the coming days," read a statement sent to Fox 13, from the Weber County Commission.

Utah County and Davis County--No Mandate

While those two counties are still up in the air, Utah County and Davis County Commissioners each told Fox 13 they will not continue with a county-wide mandate past April 10.

Davis County Commissioner Lorene Kamalu said they will, however, require mask-wearing in every county building through May 31 as part of county policy. They plan to read a statement clarifying the mask mandate at their Tuesday commission meeting.

The decision comes after the commission met with a policy committee, which includes the Health Department Director and others in Davis County, she said. All three commissioners met with the committee both last week and on Monday, Kamalu explained.

Business Mandates

Whether or not each county continues with a mandate or stays the State's course-- Kamalu and Winder Newton each mentioned that private businesses can keep their own mask policies.

Winder Newton described how many chains and larger businesses, like Costco and Harmon's, will still require face coverings. The rules could vary from business-to-business, making it hard to say just how different Utah will look come Saturday.

"It just really depends on if these businesses feel like it's in the best interest of their employees and their patrons to have masks in place," Winder Newton said, adding, "And of course, we would respect that. We hope everybody else will as well."