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SLC Mayor Announces Extension Of City Mask Order

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall announces an extension of the city's mask order on April 7, 2021. (Paul Nelson/KSL NewsRadio)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah – Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall announced the city’s mask mandate will remain in place beyond Saturday, which is when the statewide mask mandate ends under Utah’s “endgame” COVID-19 bill.

“We need to keep doing what’s worked: wearing masks,” Mendenhall said at a press conference Wednesday. “I can’t wait until the day comes when the data allows me to write an order rescinding the live-saving mask requirement, but today is not that day and April 10 is not that day either.”

The announcement came after members of the Salt Lake County Council said on Wednesday that they would not be extending the county’s order past Saturday.

Salt Lake County Health Department Director Gary Edwards recommended that the county not extend the mask mandate pursuant to the passage of HB294, and councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton urged residents during a press conference Wednesday to respect businesses that continue to require masks.

The law effectively terminates the Utah Department of Health’s statewide mask mandate on Saturday. It also lists conditions for terminating all health orders:

  • the state’s 14-day case rate is less than 191 per 100,000 people;
  • the statewide seven-day average COVID-19 ICU utilization is less than 15%; and
  • the Utah Department of Health provides notice that 1,633,000 prime doses of a COVID-19 vaccine have been allocated to the state.

Mendenhall said her proclamation does not conflict with the state’s “endgame” bill, which she said defines the process for a county health department to enact masks requirements and does not preclude a city executive from exercising emergency authorities.

Mendenhall said they will continue to watch the city’s 14-day average of new COVID-19 cases and vaccination levels before making changes.

She said the county’s data differs from the city, as the county-level data comes from multiple cities across the valley.

“You can look at the science of Salt Lake County’s data, which is across many, many different cities — when you look at Salt Lake City’s data that comes from the county, it’s not the same,” Mendenhall said. “And as I said with our three-day and 14-day averages, we are not continuing to decline the way Salt Lake County is. We reached a plateau, and it’s actually not a declining plateau. So we’re going to continue to work with our local data, through our county officials.”

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