Utah to lift mask mandate, offer vaccines to all adults

A student wears a mask on campus. Utah will lift the mandate on mask wearing on April 10 after a decision by the Legislature. (Preston Crawley)

Utah will join a handful of states next month as it lifts its statewide mask mandate on April 10.

The mandate will expire just days after the state opens vaccine appointments to all residents over the age of 18 on April 1.

For the most part, vaccinations will require two doses about a month apart from each other. With just 10 days between the date vaccinations open up and the end of the mask mandate, most adults in Utah will not be partially or fully vaccinated.

Former Utah Gov. Gary Herbert announced a statewide mask mandate following a sharp increase in cases in November. However, the mandate will be dropped following legislative action to reopen the state.

The legislature originally planned to move forward with lifting the mandate immediately, following the lead of other Republican states like Texas. However, Utah Gov. Spencer Cox chose to work with the legislature to push the action back until at least April.

“Once it became clear that the Legislature planned to end the mask mandate immediately, and with a veto-proof majority, our administration worked with them to push the date back to get as many people vaccinated as possible. It’s important to note that the mask mandate will continue after April 10 in schools and for large gatherings,” Cox said in a statement.

While the mandate will be lifted statewide, businesses may choose to enforce mask mandates on their premises.

Reuben Miller, a coffee shop manager from South Jordan, expressed discontent with the state’s decision to lift mask mandates. “This is going to impact the frontline workers who haven’t had the opportunity to receive the vaccine. Although private businesses may enforce masks, lifting it makes customers and the public more belligerent towards any safety precautions.”

About 14% of Utah residents are currently fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with thousands of appointments taking place every day.

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