The Summit County Council voted on Friday to mandate people wear face masks in public. It goes into effect at 12:01 a.m. on Saturday, June 27.
There are some exceptions, including children 2 years old and younger, people with medical conditions that make it difficult for them to wear a mask, and when people are eating at restaurants.
The mandate comes as county leaders are growing increasingly concerned about the uptick in COVID-19 cases in their county and across the state.
“We believe now is the time to do this,” said Council member Roger Armstrong.
“We may not like it,” said Council member Douglas Clyde. “It may make us uncomfortable, but this is the only tool we have left in our toolbox.”
During Friday’s meeting, council members said the current order addresses the issue right now. However, in the future, they may need to refine the order.
Summit County is currently in the yellow phase, but the uptick in COVID-19 cases has county officials concerned they may have to revert back to orange or the moderate phase.
It’s why county leaders asked Governor Gary Herbert this week to allow them to issue a mandatory mask-wearing order when people are out in public.
The reaction from residents and tourists is mixed.
“I think people need to make those decisions based on maybe their own personal health or conditions,” said Tara Brady. “So, wearing a mask for some may not be like predictable what they want for their personal health.”
“I know a lot of people say it may or may not work, but I try to do the best I can if I can. So, might as well,” said Max Brockmeyer.
In a letter drafted to General Jefferson Burton, the Interim Director of the Utah State Department of Health, county leaders expressed a public mask requirement was in the “interest of the public health.”
“I think if it’s for the safety of the people, and for the county not to spread they have to do what they have to do,” said Addie Cavallaro.
To support their request, county leaders used data from State Epidemiologist Dr. Angela Dunn’s letter to state and local health officials on June 19th.
It cites, if the current rolling seven-day average of news cases in the state continues to be greater than 400, local hospital ICUs may reach capacity in July.
Leaders say it’s a serious concern for Summit County because Intermountain Health Care is the only hospital in the county.