Kane County commissioners say masks no longer required; state disagrees

Painted wooden signs mark Main Street and Center Street in Alton, Kane County, Thursday, Aug. 20, 2015.

(Ravell Call, Deseret News)

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KANAB — The Kane County Commission released a statement Friday night saying face masks or coverings are no longer required in its area. But state health officials say that's not the case.

The county commission said it respects the individual choice to wear masks or not, but the statewide, one-size-fits-all approach isn't suitable.

Most comments on the commission's Facebook post are supportive of the statement.

However, state officials reiterated the mask mandate still remains in effect for all of Utah for now, including Kane County.

"By public health order, a statewide mask requirement remains in effect for all counties, regardless of transmission levels," Tom Hudachko, spokesperson for the Utah Department of Health, told the St. George News.

The Southwest Utah Public Health Department also told the St. George News that direction from the state government and health department supersedes any from the Kane County Commission.

The state legislature passed a bill that will end the statewide mask mandate on April 10.

And public schools are under a different statewide order, meaning students and teachers must still wear masks for the rest of the school year.

Kane County is at the very southern end of the state, bordering Washington, Garfield and San Juan counties. It includes Lake Powell, and Kanab is its biggest city. The population was 7,125 in the 2010 U.S. census.

The county was the first to go to a green level in June after the pandemic began last March. That's when the state used color-coding.

But in the most recent report from the state, Kane was in high transmission. Kane County's COVID-19 task force pointed out that's because there was an outbreak in the county jail that made the numbers spike, though most were asymptomatic or mild cases.

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Mary Richards


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