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PARK CITY — After Utah reported record COVID-19 cases two days in a row, Summit County announced a new mask mandate to begin on Friday.
The order will take effect for all "regardless of vaccination" status and requires face coverings be worn while inside public indoor facilities or waiting in lines, the Summit County Health Department said in a news release.
The requirement ordered by Summit County Manager Tom Fisher and Summit County Health Officer Dr. Phil Bondurant runs through Feb. 21.
"This was not an easy decision and certainly not an action we wanted to take at this stage of the pandemic," Bondurant said in the release. "I am especially concerned for our frontline workers, our children and staff in schools and the current strain on our health care system. Masks combined with vaccines are critical tools to help us weather this surge and protect our critical services."
Exemptions to the order include children under age 2 and people with medical conditions, impairments or disabilities that prevent mask-wearing. People working alone in an indoor facility, or who would be endangered wearing a mask while doing their job, are also exempted.
The order also doesn't apply to people seated at a restaurant during eating or drinking.
The county has been facing a large surge for the past two weeks. On Dec. 27, the local health department announced the county saw "record high" case counts for three days over the Christmas holiday.
"Along with the health of our residents, workers and visitors, preserving and maintaining critical infrastructure services in our county is of the highest priority," Fisher said.
"As it stands, the omicron surge poses a significant threat to our ability to provide critical services, such as emergency response, snow removal, solid waste collection, medical services, and others. This health order helps protect those front-line workers and the important services they provide this community," he added.
Those who violate the order could face an infraction, the release notes, but "the purpose of the order is to protect individuals' health and not to hold them criminally liable."