LOCAL NEWS

SLC Mayor Mendenhall requests county-wide mask requirement in public spaces

Jan 7, 2022, 11:12 AM | Updated: 11:50 am
FILE - Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall (KSL TV)...
FILE - Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall (KSL TV)
(KSL TV)

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall requested a Salt Lake County mask requirements from the county’s health leader and asked county politicians to support it.

In one letter Mendenhall asked County Health Department Executive Director Dr. Angela Dunn, to make the mask rule. In a separate letter she urged the county council to support such a measure; the nine-member political body has the power to override health orders and has done so previously on mask mandates.

In both letters she urged masking rules to combat an explosion of COVID-19 cases, particularly of the new highly-contagious omicron variant that may be less deadly than previously variants.

Numbers of cases have been record-breaking on multiple days in the last week, Utah hospitals are at capacity and the percentage of positive results from tests has risen dramatically since the omicron variant of the virus reached the state approximately a week ago. Utah has recorded 3,868 deaths from the disease since March, 2020. (This was written before Friday’s data update from the Utah Department of Health.)

Deaths from the virus are counted and recorded by the same methodology as other deaths in Utah.

Mendenhall wrote to Dunn:

It is our shared responsibility as leaders to protect every life we can, so I write to. you today to urge you to enact a life-saving county-wide mask requirement in public spaces during the next several weeks.”

The Utah Legislature made mandates difficult to enact by local leaders and involve a process that starts with a county health department order that can be rejected by the county council and other government entities. Mendenhall wrote to the council urging its members to support the county-wide requirement and referenced data shared to the council by Dunn and announcements from health care providers that non-essential health procedures are already being deferred.

When the COVID-19 pandemic reached Utah in March, 2020, the state’s governor had the power to declare a health emergency and mask order. Utah lawmakers shifted the power to local health departments and health officials but with veto power by elected officials.

Previously Mendenhall put a mask order in place for Salt Lake City only, a directive that some lawmakers said she didn’t have the authority to make but didn’t seem to be specifically eliminated by the so called COVID-19 End Game Bill. Mendenhall’s law team and the mayor refuted that claim.

Dunn previously enacted a county mask order for students that the city council voted along party lines to overrule. A vocal crowd supported the overturning 6-3 vote.

In Friday’s letter to the council, the mayor highlighted that the seven-day average of county cases jumped from 450 on Dec. 26, 2021 to 1,450 by Jan. 2. She wrote:

A countywide requirement will do significantly more to protect our constituents than a mask requirement in Salt Lake City alone, both in reducing community transmission during the highly contagious omincron wave, and in protecting the heroic medical staff at our overwhelmed hospitals. If we do not take this step for them now, there many not be enough healthy doctors and nurses on duty to take care of our constituents when the wave crests in a few weeks.

Please do all in your power to protect our residents, our healthcare and frontline workers, and keep schools and businesses open by temporarily requiring maks in public spaces countywide.

Mendenhall has previously said that many who work in the city travel or live outside it daily, making a city mask requirement less effective when residents are around those who are exposed outside the city.

In her letter to the council, Mendenhall highlighted the east-side growth in cases that is expected to migrate to the west and south parts of the county. She thanked Dunn and the council for time and consideration and said she looked forward to a speedy response.

Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson is copied on the letter to Dunn and has been supportive of mask rules previously.

The city mayor is speaking to the press at 11:30 a.m. Friday at the Salt Lake City and County Building.

The Salt Lake County Council is:

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Local News

...
Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Want to rent out your home for the NBA All-Star weekend? Here’s what you need to know

No question local businesses and hotel operators are excited about all the money the NBA All-Star game will bring in. But as Matt Gephardt found, regular Joe's are also capitalizing — and maybe you can, too.
1 day ago
Chopper 5 flies over the site of a new golf course by Tiger Woods set to open near Heber and Park C...
Alex Cabrero

New golf course designed by Tiger Woods set to open in 2025 near Heber City, Park City

A new golf course set to come to the Park City area is being designed by Tiger Woods. While it may be exciting, it has a lot of people wondering about the water it will take to run it.
1 day ago
...
Shelby Lofton

Utah lawmakers discussing multiple domestic violence bills to protect victims

A domestic violence amendment bill — SB117 — has made it one step closer to reaching the governor's desk.
1 day ago
FILE PHOTO...
Pat Reavy

Utah sex offender charged with kidnapping teen girl from Arizona he met on TikTok

A West Valley man previously convicted of sexually extorting a teen girl is now charged with driving to Arizona to take a different teen girl back to his home in Utah where he sexually assaulted her.
1 day ago
(North View Fire District)...
Madison Swenson

Cars crash into Utah building and residence in separate incidents

Two buildings in Pleasant View were damaged Tuesday after cars crashed into them.
1 day ago
...
Shara Park

Raise the Future chosen as Team Giannis’ beneficiary for NBA All-Star Game

As the NBA All-Star weekend in Salt Lake City approaches, several local charities have been chosen as beneficiaries, including Raise the Future, KSL TV’s Wednesday's Child partner.
1 day ago

Sponsored Articles

vintage photo of lighting showroom featuring chandeliers, lamps, wall lights and mirrors...
Lighting Design

History of Lighting Design | Over 25 Years of Providing Utah With the Latest Trends and Styles

Read about the history of Lighting Design, a family-owned and operated business that paved the way for the lighting industry in Utah.
Fiber Optical cables connected to an optic ports and Network cables connected to ethernet ports...
Brian Huston, CE and Anthony Perkins, BICSI

Why Every Business Needs a Structured Cabling System

A structured cabling system benefits businesses by giving you faster processing speeds and making your network more efficient and reliable.
notebook with password notes highlighted...
PC Laptops

How to Create Strong Passwords You Can Actually Remember

Learn how you can create strong passwords that are actually easy to remember! In a short time you can create new ones in seconds.
house with for rent sign posted...
Chase Harrington, president and COO of Entrata

Top 5 Reasons You May Want to Consider Apartment Life Over Owning a Home

There are many benefits of renting that can be overshadowed by the allure of buying a home. Here are five reasons why renting might be right for you.
Festive kitchen in Christmas decorations. Christmas dining room....
Lighting Design

6 Holiday Decor Trends to Try in 2022

We've rounded out the top 6 holiday decor trends for 2022 so you can be ahead of the game before you start shopping. 
Happy diverse college or university students are having fun on their graduation day...
BYU MBA at the Marriott School of Business

How to Choose What MBA Program is Right for You: Take this Quiz Before You Apply!

Wondering what MBA program is right for you? Take this quiz before you apply to see if it will help you meet your goals.
SLC Mayor Mendenhall requests county-wide mask requirement in public spaces