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Summit County’s mask mandate has been terminated by the Legislature

The Utah State Capitol
The Utah State Capitol

Legislation targeting public health orders in Summit and Salt Lake counties passed the House Friday morning, immediately terminating the mask mandates in place there.

Following up on a move taken by the state Senate on the first day of the general session, the Utah House of Representatives voted Friday morning to end all mask mandates in place in Utah — naming specifically the orders in place in Summit and Salt Lake counties.

The mostly partisan vote passed 45 votes to 29, with 12 Republicans joining Democrats in opposition.

In a prepared statement, Summit County Health Director Phil Bondurant said he firmly believes the actions the county has taken during the pandemic saved lives. He said requiring masks in public places, including schools, was the right decision.

“Our advisory message has not changed because the best practices have not changed: stay home if you are sick, and get vaccinated or boosted if you have not done so, and wear a mask in public indoor spaces to protect the health of others,” he said.

The statement said the county’s mask order was terminated as of early Friday afternoon.

In supporting the measure, House Republicans said the mandates were unenforceable and not the proper role of government. They said terminating the mandates didn’t forbid anyone from wearing a mask.

House Democrats advocated for letting local jurisdictions govern themselves, said the mandates supported businesses and said science shows masks help slow the spread of the virus.

The House vote came about an hour before the Utah Department of Health released the day’s COVID-19 case counts. The numbers show 43% of tests are coming back positive for the virus, 765 people are hospitalized with COVID-19 and there are 7,270 more diagnosed cases than the day before.

Alexander joined KPCW in 2021 after two years reporting on Summit County for The Park Record. While there, he won many awards for covering issues ranging from school curriculum to East Side legacy agriculture operations to land-use disputes. He arrived in Utah by way of Madison, Wisconsin, and western Massachusetts, with stints living in other areas across the country and world. When not attending a public meeting or trying to figure out what a PID is, Alexander enjoys skiing, reading and watching the Celtics.