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Summit County issues mask mandate to combat omicron surge

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SUMMIT COUNTY, Utah — Anyone living in or visiting Summit County will be required to wear a mask inside public spaces or while standing in line, regardless of vaccination status, starting Friday.

READ: Governor urges vaccines, masks as he warns of more COVID case spikes

This order comes as COVID cases soar to record smashing levels due to the omicron variant, with nearly 9,000 new COVID cases reported on Thursday in Utah.

Summit County Manager Tom Fisher and Health Officer Dr. Phil Bondurant enacted the order, which is currently in effect until February 21.

“This was not an easy decision and certainly not an action we wanted to take at this stage of the pandemic,” Dr. Bondurant said.

“I am especially concerned for our frontline workers, our children and staff in schools and the current strain on our healthcare system," he said. "Masks combined with vaccines are critical tools to help us weather this surge and protect our critical services.”

Exemptions to the order include children under two years-old, those with medical conditions or impairments that prevent wearing a mask, and those eating or drinking at a restaurant or bar.

Exceptions also apply to people for whom wearing a mask would create a risk pursuant to government workplace safety guidelines. A complete list of exemptions can be found here.

“Along with the health of our residents, workers and visitors, preserving and maintaining critical infrastructure services in our county is of the highest priority,” County Manager Tom Fisher said.

He explained that the order is needed to protect front-line workers providing critical services from the omicron surge.

Though noncompliance with the order are punishable infractions, educating the public and supplying masks to those in violation will be a priority of enforcement.