What is Utah’s pandemic ‘endgame’?

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SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4 News) – As Texas and Mississippi lift mask mandates and roll back coronavirus restrictions, is Utah ready to do the same?

” I think now more than ever COVID is spreading, especially with new strains coming out,” says Salt Lake Resident Natalie Evans. “Just because it feels like COVID is gone because people are starting to get the vaccines, I just don’t think it is time yet. People aren’t safe enough.”

Francoise Ayers echos the comments saying, “Yeah, I would like to go out and be able to go to restaurants or a bar or something, but I think it is too important to keep people safe.”

Clearfield Representative Paul Ray tells ABC4’s Jason Nguyen he has a different perspective.

“You know my personal opinion you know really Jason is, we should just be done,” says Rep. Ray.

When asked why now? He says, “Our citizens are ready for it. The public has been asking since the beginning, what’s it look like in the end.”

House Bill 294 calls for the lifting of restrictions when:

-Utah’s 14-day COVID case rate drops below 191 cases per 100,000 people.

-15 percent or less of the ICU is filled with COVID-19 patients.

-More than 1,633,000 vaccines are provided to Utah by the federal government.

“The numbers are going down, we’ve done a lot of damage to the economy, you know we’ve had job loss. People are ready,” Rep. Ray adds.

Victoria Vincent agrees with the Clearfield representative saying too many places are closing their doors.

“I think that it is up for businesses to make that decision, and if businesses feel comfortable to open up, then let them open up,” says Vincent. “It’s time to allow them to have some success in the world.”

The ‘endgame’ bill passed through the house and is now headed over to the senate to be heard. If it goes to the governor’s desk. Rep. Ray appears confident it will be signed into law.

“I just think we differ on the risk levels that we are willing to take on that. I don’t think it is about removing powers from the governor or anything like that,” says Rep. Ray. “You know the exciting part is when he signs it, the masks go away. You know, for the most part, we get rid of the masks and in very short order we get rid of all the other restrictions.”

Medical professionals say legislators shouldn’t be making public health policy and hope Governor Cox will veto the bill if it reaches his desk.

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