SALT LAKE COUNTY, Utah (ABC4) – A 30-day mask mandate has been issued for Salt Lake County on Friday.
Salt Lake County Health Department Executive Director Dr. Angela C. Dunn says the public health order will require everyone to wear masks when indoors in public spaces, regardless of vaccination status.
Health officials recommend wearing masks such as KN95s or cloth masks when possible.
Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson approved the 30-Day Mask Order and issued a statement about the mandate:
“I deeply appreciate the expertise of Dr. Angela Dunn, our County Public Health Director. I accept her recommendation for a 30-day countywide mask requirement in Salt Lake County. The Omicron variant has spread rapidly. Just two weeks ago, we were at 500 cases a day in Salt Lake County. Today we sit at over 4,600 per day. We recognize the sense of urgency in our community as hospitals are threatened. We need to utilize every tool available to slow the spread and high-quality masks worn indoors in public spaces are a proven measure. Our county is open, we are running business as usual. This is a temporary step that is necessary to get us through this next phase of COVID.”
The mandate will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, Jan. 8, and will be enforced until Feb. 7 at 5 p.m.
“We desperately need to use every tool available to ensure our hospitals can continue providing excellent healthcare through this surge,” says Dr. Dunn. “We also need to ensure that our essential services have the staff necessary to operate—from law enforcement, to plow drivers, to schoolteachers. It is my obligation as health officer to take the action I believe has the best chance to prevent unnecessary suffering throughout our community.”
Exemptions to the mandate include:
- Individuals under two years of age and those with medical conditions, impairments or disabilities that prevent wearing a mask.
- Individuals engaging in work where they are alone and individuals for whom wearing a mask would create a risk to the individual related to their work as determined by local, state or federal regulators or workplace safety guidelines.
- Individuals seated at a restaurant or other food/beverage establishment while they are actively eating or drinking.
As Utah sees a continued surge of the Omicron variant every day, health officials are concerned as many local hospitals are already operating at or near capacity.
Earlier this week, Summit County issued a 45-day indoor mask mandate starting Jan. 7.
“The purpose of this order is to protect public health and our critical industries’ staffing, not to hold someone criminally liable,” officials say. “Health officials are asking businesses and operators of other public spaces to enforce this order as they do any other social-behavioral expectations that exist for their establishment.”
Read the full public health order by clicking here.