SL County Council votes to hold special meeting to address indoor mask order

Jan 11, 2022, 7:22 PM | Updated: 11:54 pm

SALT LAKE CITY — The Salt Lake County Council could veto the county health order that requires masks in indoor locations as soon as Wednesday night.

The meeting can be held no sooner than 24 hours after the meeting is posted as a public meeting. A posted meeting requires an agenda that had not yet been produced when the vote was taken.

After the vote Tuesday to hold the meeting, when the agenda can be produced and posted, a meeting could be scheduled for Wednesday evening. That meeting is dependent on council members being available, which isn’t certain.

The current health order was enacted by the Salt Lake County Health Department Executive Director, Dr. Angela Dunn. The local political body was given veto power over health orders by the Utah State Legislature in last year’s lawmaking session. Previously the council used that power to wipe out a mask mandate for school children.

The current order, largely toothless, applies to children over two, but allows any parent to write an exemption for their child. The state has never enforced previous mask mandates, originally handed down by then Gov. Gary Herbert in 2020. Businesses are free to enforce mask rules for their establishment.

After the recent county mask order, current Gov. Spencer Cox sent a memo to state employees that stated state buildings in the county did not need to follow county orders, but encouraged safe mask use. Cox once provided weekly press conferences about the pandemic, as did his predecessor, but now promotes vaccinations in public statements. He has said previously the vaccines are the silver-bullet solution to the coronavirus.

In Tuesday’s meeting the public was first given time to voice opinions about the latest order.

Voting to possibly repeal the health order was not on the agenda, but was added to it, and passed a vote 4-3 on the nine-member council, with several members unable to vote because of technical issues. Then, a vote was held to determine if the agenda item were an emergency, and that vote failed, preventing a vote for repeal Tuesday.

Without the “emergency” status, the vote must be first placed on the agenda with 24 hours notice to the public.

A motion to call a special meeting was then passed, setting up a meeting Wednesday or 24 hours after the one-item agenda can be made public.

Tuesday was another record-breaking day of test-confirmed COVID-19 in the state of Utah, reaching almost 10,000 new infections, with testing featuring long waits. It is believed numbers are much higher with those unwilling to wait, those with take-home tests and those who wish not to be tested at all.

School cases are soaring and some schools have entered the range of infection to force test-to-stay protocols, but with a shortage of test kits and a shortage of people available to perform the tests. Hospitalizations are a lagging statistic to infection, though it is believed the omicron variant of the virus has a less severe health impact.

Hospitalizations Tuesday surged along with positive test percentages and total cases. Currently 3,922 Utah residents have been killed by the virus, including 15 counted Tuesday. Each death is verified by the same methods other deaths are counted in the state, making the process sometimes slow.

At the council meeting, three different votes would have been required to veto the mask order Tuesday. One would have put the item on the agenda, though a vote would not be legal without public notice, unless it was voted as an emergency item; that vote failed. Had it passed, a vote to veto the order could have been held. The next scheduled meeting for the council is in two weeks.

The vote is likely to be either 5 to 4 to repeal or 5 to 4 not to repeal.

KSL 5 TV Live

Local News

(KSL TV)...

Casey Scott

Casey Scott surprises some lucky Utah drivers with free gas cards

It's Wednesday, which means Casey Scott was giving away free $50 gas cards to a few lucky Utah drivers!

28 minutes ago

Workers construct single-family homes in Saratoga Springs Nov. 14. Utah gained close to 56,000 new ...

Carter Williams, KSL.com

Utah gained another 56K residents in 2023. Here’s where they live

Utah's population growth is slowing down, but still, tens of thousands of people moved here in the past year, according to a new state population report.

3 hours ago

Family members on Tuesday were remembering an Air Force major killed in an Osprey crash off of sout...

Andrew Adams

Family members remember Utah Air Force major killed in Osprey crash

Family members on Tuesday were remembering an Air Force major killed in an Osprey crash off of southwestern Japan.

14 hours ago

At a meeting Tuesday night at West High School, roughly 50 parents voiced their concerns over the r...

Debbie Worthen

Parents voice concern over recommended school closures in the Salt Lake City School District

At West High School on Tuesday night, 50 parents took to the microphone to voice their concerns over the recommended closures. Most of the responses were based on Hawthorne and Mary W. Jackson.

15 hours ago

When Daniel Reeder moved into his Bountiful home, he quickly realized its synthetic, membrane roofi...

Matt Gephardt and Sloan Schrage

Get Gephardt helps Bountiful homeowner who says he can’t get roofing company to make warranty repair

When Daniel Reeder moved into his Bountiful home, he quickly realized its synthetic, membrane roofing had a problem. Some of its adhesive began peeling.

15 hours ago

Dozens of high school kids at Layton Christian Academy came to the rescue of a mother and two child...

Dan Rascon

Dozens of teenagers come to the rescue of a mother and her two young children

Dozens of high school kids at Layton Christian Academy came to the rescue of a mother and two children after they were hit and pinned underneath a vehicle.

15 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Stylish room interior with beautiful Christmas tree and decorative fireplace...

Lighting Design

Create a Festive Home with Our Easy-to-Follow Holiday Prep Guide

Get ready for festive celebrations! Discover expert tips to prepare your home for the holidays, creating a warm and welcoming atmosphere for unforgettable moments.

Battery low message on mobile device screen. Internet and technology concept...

PC Laptops

9 Tips to Get More Power Out of Your Laptop Battery

Get more power out of your laptop battery and help it last longer by implementing some of these tips from our guide.

Users display warnings about the use of artificial intelligence (AI), access to malicious software ...

Les Olson

How to Stay Safe from Cybersecurity Threats

Read our tips for reading for how to respond to rising cybersecurity threats in 2023 and beyond to keep yourself and your company safe.

Design mockup half in white and half in color of luxury house interior with open plan living room a...

Lighting Design

Lighting Design 101: Learn the Basics

These lighting design basics will help you when designing your home, so you can meet both practical and aesthetic needs.

an antler with large horns int he wilderness...

Three Bear Lodge

Yellowstone in the Fall: A Wildlife Spectacle Worth Witnessing

While most people travel to this park in the summer, late fall in Yellowstone provides a wealth of highlights to make a memorable experience.

a diverse group of students raising their hands in a classroom...

Little Orchard Preschool

6 Benefits of Preschool for Kids

Some of the benefits of preschool for kids include developing independence, curiosity, and learning more about the world.

SL County Council votes to hold special meeting to address indoor mask order