Could a mask mandate return to Utah this fall? Here’s what Utah leaders say

Local News

SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – As the Delta variant continues to spread nationwide, top health officials are now warning indoor mask mandates and other public health measures could likely make a return this fall. Here in Utah, leaders are focusing on a different solution.

Governor Spencer Cox said in the last week, 70% of all adults in the state are vaccinated, but he said efforts need to continue.

In an interview with the Washington Post, the Governor was asked what coronavirus public health measures he’s prepared to implement should they become necessary again.

“When you ask the question, you know, what steps are we prepared to make, it’s to continue to encourage vaccinations, because that’s how we stop the spread of this virus,” he said Thursday.

So, could Utahns be required to wear masks this fall?

A bill passed during the legislative session ended public mask mandates earlier this year. And in a special session, mask requirements were banned this next school year.

While there is a concern for a resurgence of the respiratory virus, University of Utah Health Dr. Sankar Swaminathan also said vaccination is the only hope in curbing the virus’ spread.  

“While I don’t see a widespread surge, I think that we are at risk for outbreaks in limited areas in Utah,” he said.

From a health official’s perspective, Dr. Swaminathan weighed in on the conversation.

“We know about half of the people in Utah aren’t vaccinated and yet, everybody in the store is not wearing a mask. So, I think it’s almost silly to be talking about ‘Are we going to have to wear masks?’ when nobody is following recommendations now to begin with,” he said.

With the rise in cases, comes hospitalizations. Right now, healthcare systems are reporting a majority of patients are unvaccinated individuals.

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