SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – A mask mandate in Utah’s largest county has been extended until the end of the year. The mandate requires face coverings in businesses and in public spaces where social distancing is not possible.

The Salt Lake County Health Department and Mayor Jenny Wilson say the face-covering requirement has helped slow the spread of COVID-19 in their county. They insist that the steps they are taking to combat the virus are working.

“We’re six months into this emergency and we recognize until we have a vaccine, we need to continue to battle COVID-19,” Wilson said in a recorded statement Wednesday. “We now have the tools to do so until the end of the year.”

Wilson said she recognizes there is increased concern with schools back open. She said the threat of the virus still remains, and Salt Lake County cannot ease up now, just as they’re beginning to make lasting progress.

In July, Wilson said the county’s mandate had led to a decline in new COVID-19 cases and called on Gov. Gary Herbert to order a statewide mask requirement. Herbert has declined to enact a statewide order but he and other legislative leaders have encouraged voluntary mask usage.

Associated Press contributed to this report.

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