Can you be charged for not following the mask mandate?

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SALT LAKE CITY – As Governor Gary Herbert continues to ask Utahns to wear a face-covering while in public, he is also giving local governments a path to enforce the new mask mandate.

“I don’t expect there is going to be a lot of police out looking for violators,” says Governor Herbert.

The State of Utah is under a mask mandate if you want to see a movie or a live event, like sports or weddings. Other than that, you’ll need to follow your county’s mask guidelines.

If you’re caught not following the health order, you may be issued a misdemeanor.

“It’s a matter of, it’s an ordinance, it’s an order from our Utah Health Department to help us all be safe,” the Governor adds.

When it comes to enforcing the mask mandate police officers like Sargent Melody Cutler with Unified Police will tell you, “Our goal is to obtain voluntary compliance. We don’t want to arrest people for this.”

Unified Police were one of the first departments to enforce a mask mandate during the pandemic.

Sergeant Cutler says businesses have the right to deny anyone services who don’t follow their company policy.

“Businesses have the right to refuse service to you if you’re not, just like if you don’t wear shoes, they can tell you – you can’t come in without shoes, they can also tell you – you can’t come in without a mask,” she says. “The times we are getting called is when somebody is getting belligerent or wants to force their way into that business, and that is of course when the police get involved and we would rather not do that.”

She says if that happens people may see more than a misdemeanor charge.

But, Governor Herbert hopes Utahns will do the right thing to finally lower the spread of COVID-19 and wear a mask.

The state will not impose a mask mandate in low transmission areas but is asking folks to wear a face covering.

Groups of more than 10 are prohibited in high and in moderate transmission counties until Oct. 29th, and that can be enforced.

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