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Utah legislative leaders respond to recent mask mandates



Salt Lake City, Utah — Summit and Salt Lake County officials opted to enact new mask mandates, following record-breaking COVID-19 infections in Utah.

New mask mandates apply to all residents and visitors who are inside public indoor facilities or are waiting in line in Summit County until Feb. 21. Salt Lake County’s mandate, which was issued by the county health department, will take effect Saturday and will be in place until Feb. 7. Both the mandates also apply to schools.

Utah Senate President Stuart Adams and Speaker Brad Wilson issued a joint statement in response to the counties’ rules on Friday.

“The Legislature has outlined a process in S.B. 195 with multiple checks and balances,” according to the statement. “While we believe government mandates should be a last resort, we will review the recently issued orders.”

S.B. 195 is legislation that limits the ability of health departments and the governor to make health emergency declarations. The law gives the legislature or county commissioners the power to veto any emergency actions put in place by the health department or the governor.

“As other areas have experienced, we hope Utah’s current COVID-19 surge is temporary,” Adams and Wilson’s statement reads. “We continue to encourage Utahns to get vaccinated and take precautions to keep themselves and those around them healthy without overwhelming our hospitals.”

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