SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Despite President Joe Biden pleading for states to reinstate mask mandates as officials fear a fourth surge of COVID-19, Utah will not maintain a mask mandate beyond early April.
A statement from the Governor’s Office says there are no changes to Utah’s mask mandate at this time.
The bill, sponsored by Rep Paul Ray, R-Clearfield, and Sen. Derrin Owens also declares Utah’s pandemic and its restrictions over – either on July 1 or when the state reaches a 14-day case rate of fewer than 191 per 100,000 people, the seven-day average of intensive care unit capacity falls below 15%, or when the state has allocated at least 1.6 million doses of the vaccine.
On Monday, Pres. Biden and Dr. Rochelle Walensky, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, warned too many Americans are declaring virus victory too quickly.
“This is deadly serious,” Biden said, urging governors to reinstate mask mandates and other restrictions that some states have been easing. “Please, this is not politics, reinstate the mandate if you let it down.”
This comes as vaccinations continue. Pres. Biden has laid out new steps to expand COVID-19 vaccination eligibility to all adult Americans over the next five weeks. Utah’s eligibility opened up to all adults in late March.
“We have so much to look forward to, so much promise and potential of where we are and so much reason for hope,” said Dr. Walensky on Monday. “But right now, I’m scared.”
Cases of the virus are up about 10% over the past week from the previous week, to about 60,000 cases per day, with both hospitalizations and deaths ticking up as well, Walensky said. She warned that without immediate action the U.S. could follow European countries into another spike in cases and suffer needless deaths.
“I have to share the truth, and I have to hope and trust you will listen,” she said.
Utah has recently seen some of its lowest numbers of new confirmed cases in weeks.
Gov. Cox is scheduled to hold his weekly COVID-19 briefing on Thursday, April 1.