Utah Pushes To Open Vaccines For All Adults As Mask Mandate Expiration Date Looms
SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Gov. Spencer Cox’s office announced Utah is anticipating opening up vaccine eligibility to every adult in the state on April 1.
The announcement came after the Utah Legislature passed a bill that would remove the state’s mask mandate by April 10.
The legislation does not do away with the mask mandate in the state’s K-12 schools, and masks will still be required at large gatherings.
Cox indicated he will sign the bill, and that’s part of the reason the eligibility date is being pushed up: to make sure more Utahns are vaccinated before masks come off faces.
According to a statement from the governor’s office, “Once it became clear that the Legislature planned to end the mask mandate immediately, and with a veto-proof majority, our administration worked with them to push the date back to get as many people vaccinated as possible.”
However, the state needs to get more doses of the vaccine.
Rich Lakin with the state health department said right now the number of vaccines coming into Utah is stagnate.
Currently, we’re getting about 65,000 doses a week. By the end of the month, that may jump to 85,000 doses a week as more Johnson and Johnson vaccine becomes available.
The Governor’s office said by April 10 it’s likely to have 1.5 million first doses in the state.
“I think that’s great,” said resident Kelsie Everson, who was enjoying a day at Liberty Park when she heard about the vaccine deadline being moved up. “I am excited that we are finally on the downhill of this craziness.”
She said has not received the vaccine, but she hasn’t been too worried because she’s not high risk. In the meantime, she’s just waiting patiently.
“I’ll be getting mine as soon as I’m able to,” said Everson.
She said she’s also excited about ditching the mask on April 10 when the mask mandate is scheduled to end, but she’s surprised it’s happening so fast.
“I would have thought they’d give a little more cushion time for everyone to get the vaccine who chooses to get it,” she said.
According to the governor’s office, businesses can still require customers and employees to wear masks.
“And of course, every individual can choose to wear a mask,” the office’s statement read.
“I’m definitely ready to get (the vaccine) so we can move back to normal society as quickly as possible,” Everson said.
However, she won’t be throwing out her mask after receiving the vaccine.
“If somebody else prefers I wear a mask, I’m still happy to for other people’s comfort,” she said. “But i’ll be very excited to not have to wear the mask anymore if I don’t have to.”
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