SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – After issuing a county-wide indoor mask mandate on Jan. 7, the Salt Lake County Council has voted to keep that 30-day mandate in place after holding an emergency meeting on Thursday to address the controversial decision.

The council voted in favor of keeping the mandate by a vote of 5-4.

The public health order requires everyone in the county to wear masks when indoors in public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.

The decision to hold the emergency meeting came after County Councilmember Dave Alvord wanted the council to take a vote to overturn the mandate at their Tuesday night regular council meeting. That did not happen. 

Shortly after the meeting, Salt Lake City Mayor Jenny Wilson issued a statement:

“Salt Lake County currently has nearly 47,000 reported cases of COVID-19 over the last 14 days, our largest number in the pandemic. Our schools are in disarray due to such large spread and our economy is being impacted by staffing shortages due to active COVID-19 cases. Most importantly, high case counts lead to high hospitalizations and the loss of life,” said Mayor Wilson.

“There is some good news with the likely decline of Omicron cases on the east coast of the United States, yet evidence is that we have not yet “peaked” here in Utah.  I am very hopeful that we will see a rapid decline and that we have a healthier spring ahead, but in the meantime we must all do our part.”

Over the past week, many schools across Utah had to enter the “Test to Stay” protocol due to rises in COVID-19 cases. Some schools have even announced emergency remote learning days due to the rapid rise of COVID cases.

The Utah Department of Health released new data on Thursday reporting 12,990 new COVID-19 cases and 7 new deaths since Wednesday.