Salt Lake County Council likely to keep mask mandate, with chair’s support

Jan 12, 2022, 3:39 PM | Updated: 3:45 pm
Salt Lake County Council meeting...
Salt Lake County Council meeting on Tuesday night concluded they will hold a special meeting to vote on mask order. Photo: KSL TV

SALT LAKE CITY — Salt Lake County Council Chair Laurie Stringham said she is inclined to vote to keep an indoor mask mandate in Salt Lake County, breaking a possible tie and swinging the vote in favor of the mandate, KSL learned exclusively on Wednesday afternoon.

This mandate is the subject of a vote that will be taken on Thursday by her Salt Lake County Council peers. Council members agreed to hold the emergency vote Thursday after three rounds of voting and discussion on Tuesday night.

Salt Lake County and the mask mandate debate

Before the voting began Tuesday, Stringham was reportedly against calling a vote on the mask order. At that time, she felt there weren’t enough votes to overturn it. But after three separate votes to change the agenda of the council, the group decided to call for a vote to overturn the mask order.

Related: Salt Lake County Council will hold special meeting on Thursday to vote on mask order

Stringham told KSL NewsRadio that despite the vote to change the agenda, she is still inclined to vote to keep the mandate.

“If I for some reason found some magic cure, between now and then, I would like to have that,” Stringham told KSL NewsRadio reporter Lindsay Aerts, “but, I think at this point as it stands, it’s probably just going to stand.”

Stringham reiterated her concern that a mask mandate in Salt Lake County will keep first responders and healthcare workers safe.

“Are we going to be able to provide services that are essential, vital — police, fire, health care? If this were just about stopping the virus itself, I would vote it down.”

Stringham says the council is split four to four, making her vote the swing vote.

She says she will vote as a policymaker who needs to assure her county can function.

The vote by the Salt Lake County Council on whether to retain a mask mandate ordered by Salt Lake County Health is slated for Thursday at 4 p.m.

How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus (updated Jan. 2022)

The novel coronavirus COVID-19 spreads from person to person, similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:

  • Get vaccinated. If you are vaccinated, get your booster shot.
  • Wear a mask. Here are the current CDC recommendations (as of Jan. 12, 2022):
    • People aged 2 years and older who are not vaccinated should wear a face covering when indoors.
    • When outdoors, masks are generally not needed unless you are in a crowded setting.
    • Even if they are vaccinated, people with weakened immune systems may still be at risk and should wear a mask indoors.
    • Masks should be worn indoors in public in high transmission areas.
    • Masks that cover your nose and mouth are required to be worn on planes, busses, trains, and other public transportation when traveling into, within, or out of the United States.
  • Stay six feet away from others (social distancing) especially if you are at high risk.
  • Avoid crowds and poorly ventilated spaces.
  • Testing. There are several types of tests for you to use if you suspect you are sick. These include viral and antibody tests, conducted by others or by you in your home (self-tests). 
    • If you test positive, you should isolate. The CDC now recommends a five-day isolation period, followed by five days of mask-wearing when around others.

Local resources

Utah’s Coronavirus Information 

Utah State Board of Education

Utah Hospital Association

The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints

Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707

National Resources

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Commonly asked questions, World Health Organization

Cases in the United States


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