Summit County and Salt Lake mask mandates terminated in Utah House

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah House of Representatives passed joint resolution S.J.R. 3 in a vote of 45 to 29, terminating the mask mandates that were in order in Summit and Salt Lake Counties.

Joint resolutions do not require the governor’s signature, meaning the bill, which was passed by the Utah Senate on the first day of the legislative session, is effective immediately.

“the Legislature hereby terminates the public health order of constraint dated January 6, 2022, signed by Thomas C. Fisher, Summit County Manager, and Dr. Philip Bondurant, Summit County Health Officer, requiring the wearing of a mask or face covering in Summit County,” the resolution says.

Twelve Republicans joined all 17 Democrats in voting against the resolution. Republicans made up all of the votes in favor of ending the public health orders. Reps. Kera Birkeland and Mike Kohler, both Republicans that represent parts of Summit County, voted in favor of the bill. Democratic Rep. Brian King, who represents portions of Summit and Salt Lake Counties, voted against the resolution.

“I understand many people want to bring about an end to this pandemic. We all do. That all said, doing something for the sake of doing something is this not a good enough justification for a government mandate,” said Republican sponsor Rep. Candice Pierucci of Riverton.

“The decision to implement Public Health Order 2022-01 in Summit County followed all legal requirements and was given extensive consideration by local elected officials and stakeholders. I remain firm in my belief that the actions taken by Summit County and the Summit County Health Department over the last two years have saved lives,” Summit County Health Director Dr. Phil Bondurant said in a statement.

“Although the outcome of the vote regarding SJR003 provides a different direction than our Public Health Order, I still believe the action taken to require masks in public places, including schools, was the right one for Summit County. The ongoing Omicron surge has impacted every aspect of our lives at home, at work, in our schools, and our businesses.

“We ask our residents and visitors to remain diligent to protect themselves and their loved ones. Our advisory message has not changed because the best practices have not changed: stay home if you are sick, and get vaccinated or boosted if you have not done so, and wear a mask in public indoor spaces to protect the health of others.”

There were 765 people in Utah hospitals diagnosed with COVID-19, according to Friday data.

Vote breakdown

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