SALT LAKE CITY – Public health orders around COVID-19 have now ceased after the state hit a series of polls outlined under a bill passed by the Utah State Legislature, FOX 13 has confirmed.
The bill, nicknamed the “COVID-19 playoffs,” lifts restrictions on fundraising sizes and social distances imposed by the Utah Department of Health. It previously ended the mandate that applies to the entire state.
“We can finally go into a full theater again, have an outdoor concert, go to the lagoon, enjoy rides, not have to try to keep your mask on, and that̵
According to the Utah Department of Health, the state cleared a key benchmark Tuesday afternoon: More than 1.63 million primary doses of the assigned COVID-19 vaccine. Utah has received 1.65 million doses now. Previously, the state cleared the bill thresholds for case rates and COVID-specific hospital admissions to the intensive care unit.
The bill means there will be no state-mandated restrictions on gatherings and social distance. It also completes local orders that require them, as in Salt Lake City and Grand County. However, there are some exceptions:
- Governor Spencer Cox has introduced a mask mandate for all state-owned facilities (including Capitol Hill, DABC stores, driver’s license offices, etc.) until May 31st. Then each agency can decide if it wants to proceed with a mask claim.
- A mask mandate remains in effect for all K-12 schools throughout Utah until June 15 or the end of the 2020-21 school year, whichever comes first.
- Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson has imposed a mask mandate for all county-owned facilities.
- Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall has imposed one on all city-owned facilities.
- The Utah Transit Authority has said it will require masks and social clearance on all of its buses and trains until Sept. 13.
- Private companies may still require masks and physical distancing of customers.
Rep. Ray said he absolutely supported the private company’s right to tell customers to “mask themselves.”
“We did not want to step on our toes or offend private business, so if they want a mask, they can definitely do it,” he said.
In an interview with FOX 13 on Tuesday, the Cox government was pleased to hear the news.
“We are heading in the right direction. Again, that does not mean the virus is gone. So we urge people to continue to take the right kinds of security measures. If you are in large groups inside, still be careful. If you do not is fully vaccinated, wear a mask and protect yourself, “he said.” But the message is: Get vaccinated. The reason we put that number at 1.6 million is that we knew it would be enough to get vaccines, to get us as close to herd immunity as possible. It only works if you are vaccinated. “
The bill was run in the legislature earlier this year with the aim of ending public health orders and bringing an “end” to the pandemic. Gov. Cox has been critical of the bill, but he signed it because he believed the legislature had the opportunity to override him and end the mask mandate immediately.
Instead, the governor negotiated the thresholds with legislators. The state has had a relatively high adoption rate for vaccinations, although the pace has begun to slow with more supply than demand now. At a recent briefing before a legislative committee, the UDOH had said it could be the end of the summer before the state obtained “herd immunity.”
“They were not exactly where public health wanted them to be, but they are reasonable, and I think it’s a good reason to celebrate with everyone that we’re moving forward,” UDOH CEO Rich Saunders said in an interview with FOX 13 Tuesday.
Saunders urged the Utahns to exercise personal responsibility and warned that the pandemic is not over.
“Just because the legislature said the measurements are in law now does not mean the virus obeys them. The virus is independent. It will do what it has to do,” he warned. “It places a great responsibility on the individual to make good decisions about what they do alone and in public. There is no removal of good judgment.”
The bill allowed local governments to issue their own mask mandates for a while. Only Grand County did so, arguing that millions of tourists visited and a 17-bed hospital in Moab, they can not handle an outbreak. But under the new law, it will now be terminated.
Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall’s emergency order requiring facial coatings has also been finalized by law. In a statement to FOX 13, the mayor said Salt Lake City is still at the “moderate” transmission level for COVID-19.
“In our city, we are seeing more and more cases and fewer vaccinations in our West Side neighborhoods, which have been disproportionately affected by COVID-19 for the entire pandemic. Nevertheless, now that the measurements in the legislator’s endgame bill are met.” , as mayor, I am now prohibited from enforcing emergency orders specifically related to COVID-19, including the mask requirement, ”she wrote. “I plan to issue a decree requiring masks at all city facilities within a short time, and as a city we will continue to encourage people to wear life-saving masks, while COVID remains a very real and current risk to public health. “
Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson also urged residents to continue wearing masks.
“COVID-19 remains a threat to our community. At this time, we urge Salt Lake County residents to continue wearing face masks and encourage anyone eligible to receive a vaccine,” she said in a statement.
But Government Cox said he did not believe termination of health orders would lead to a new increase.
“We got rid of our mask mandate almost a month ago and we have not seen a wave. Every day with the vaccinations? That’s what keeps the wave going,” he told FOX 13.
But Saunders said that if there was an increase, UDOH would go to the governor and the legislature to revise the “endgame” law.