SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Mayor Erin Mendenhall has written a letter to County Health Executive Director Dr. Angela Dunn asking Salt Lake County to enact a mask mandate in public spaces for the foreseeable future.

Mendenhall writes, “As you know, the County and State are experiencing unprecedented numbers of COVID-19 cases and deaths, and our hospitals have reached full capacity. It is our shared responsibility as leaders to protect every life we can, so I write to you today to urge you to enact a life-saving county-wide mask requirement in public spaces during the next several weeks.”

Citing the troubling data of Salt Lake County and the trend of other city mayors being forced to declare states of emergency due to staffing shortages in public safety departments, Mendenhall expresses her concern about the impact that community spread has on every facet of government.

Mendenhall believes that a county-wide mask requirement will do much more to protect employees across the board than a city requirement alone, both for reducing transmission during the Omicron surge and in protecting medical staff who are overwhelmed at local hospitals.

Mendenhall notes that this measure is an urgent prevention effort for medical professionals, stating, “if we do not take this step for them now, there may not be enough healthy doctors and nurses on duty to take care of our constituents when this wave [Omicron] crests in a few weeks.”

He continues to express, “we all want a return to normal, and keeping as many people out of the hospital as possible is a very simple way to help us get there.”

The mandate is an effort to keep schools and businesses open, and most importantly, protect the people of Salt Lake County.