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Utah Renews Public Health Order, Sets Goal For Removing Mask Mandate

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – The Utah Department of Health renewed a statewide public health order with the goal of slowing the spread of COVID-19.

Utah’s mask mandate first went into effect in November 2020. Under the new public health order, residents are still required to wear masks while indoors in public settings or outdoors where physical distancing is not an option. This applies to all counties at all levels of transmission.

However, the health order states that masks will not be required in counties with a “low” transmission level eight weeks after UDOH announces Utah has been allocated 1,633,000 first doses of the vaccine.

Currently, 444,905 first doses have been allocated.

Also under the new order, schools will be required to test high school students before they participate in one-time, school-sponsored extracurricular activities — such as school dances.

“This is the time of year where we definitely have those rights-of-passage type of events for especially high school seniors,” said Tom Hudachko, UDOH director of communications. “We wanted to make sure that were paying attention to that and providing kids with an opportunity to participate in those types of events but also ensuring that they were going to be safe.”

K-12 schools are also instructed to work with local health departments to determine the best course of action when a school reaches the state’s outbreak threshold.

UDOH’s order also affects public gatherings.

Bars in counties with “moderate” transmission levels will no longer be required to limit occupancy to 75%. Those bars will be required to ensure patrons are wearing masks when they are within 6 feet of patrons from a separate party, according to the order.

Live events, movie theaters, sporting events, weddings, recreation and other entertainment events can resume with side-by-side seating as long as all patrons are wearing masks and “can attest to being free of COVID-19 symptoms, and are not subject to quarantine or isolation,” UDOH said in a statement.

“Masks may be removed to eat or drink, but 6 feet physical distancing must be maintained from anyone from a separate party during that time,” according to the health department.

The new order is effective through March 25.

Read the full order here:

State Public Health Order 2021-5

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