Salt Lake County leaders frustrated by state lawmakers' resolution to end mask mandates

Posted at 10:27 PM, Jan 18, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-19 00:34:22-05

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County leaders are frustrated with the Republican-led Utah Legislature’s attempt to overturn a public health order requiring the use of masks inside public spaces.

“We followed the rules and did exactly as was intended by the law,” said Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson. “It's unfortunate they are moving the goalposts today.”

The health order was put in place earlier in January with the support of both Republicans and Democrats in the county government.

“I don't think I have ever seen the government move this fast,” said county health director Dr. Angela Dunn. “Unfortunately, it's in a direction that is harmful to the health of our residents in Salt Lake County.”

Dr. Dunn believes the health order helped increase the use of masks in the county. She hopes people will continue to wear face coverings despite the intentions of the state legislature.

“I feel like we keep getting punched in the gut every time we try to protect our citizens. I feel like this is taking several steps backward in our response to the COVID pandemic,” Dr. Dunn said. “The less spread we have, the less hospitalizations we have, the less disruptions we will have on our economy and the less chances for yet another variant.”

She is encouraged by the county’s efforts to distribute thousands of N-95 face coverings — the most efficient in preventing the spread of the virus.

Dr. Dunn says she will continue to make recommendations based on facts and science that will keep people healthy.

Wilson hopes state lawmakers will stop interfering with those local decisions.

“I think the legislature thinks they are medical experts and health experts,” Wilson said. “Maybe a few are, but I think those are the voices we should be listening to.”