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Steve Griffin, KSL, File

Salt Lake County's mask mandate extended through end of 2020

By Jacob Klopfenstein, KSL.com | Updated - Aug. 19, 2020 at 3:12 p.m. | Posted - Aug. 19, 2020 at 2:03 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County’s mask mandate will be in effect for the rest of 2020.

Officials with Mayor Jenny Wilson’s office confirmed that masks will be required in public in Salt Lake County for the remainder of the year as the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Wilson also announced the news in a video posted to her official Facebook page Wednesday afternoon.

"We’re six months into this emergency and we recognize that until we have a vaccine, we need to continue to battle COVID-19," she said in the video. "We now have the tools to do so until the end of the year and I think the mask requirement will help us."

Tuesday, the Salt Lake County Council extended the county's emergency declaration through the end of the year. Wednesday, Wilson extended the county's public health order and mask mandate to reflect that timeline, as well, according to the video announcement.

Local jurisdictions no longer need to ask for permission from Utah Gov. Gary Herbert's office to enact mask mandates after Herbert changed that rule earlier this month. Instead, they need only to notify Herbert's office of their plans for mandates, and they will be automatically enacted.

In a news release, the county mayor's office noted that if data and public health experts determine that face coverings are no longer necessary, the order can be rescinded before the end of the year.

Grand County also extended its public health order mandating face masks through the end of the year, officials with the Southeast Utah Health Department said Wednesday. The order, which was implemented in July, will now expire on Dec. 31.

As of Wednesday, Grand County had seen a total of 53 confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Cases of COVID-19 have fallen in Salt Lake County, and data is showing that the county's mask mandate has had the effect on stopping the spread of the disease that county leaders intended, Wilson's office said. The county also stressed that people should continue practicing social distancing, washing hands often and following other public health recommendations for COVID-19 in addition to wearing masks.

"We know that it’s working," Wilson said in the video. "We’re seeing cases fall, which is amazing, but we’re also seeing some concern as school opens, and we recognize we will just have to continue to hang in there as citizens here and residents of Salt Lake County and get through the next few months."

Jacob Klopfenstein

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