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Salt Lake County to extend mask mandate through end of year

FILE: Sean Moody, KSL TV

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — Salt Lake County will extend its mask mandate through the end of the year, Mayor Jenny Wilson’s office confirmed Wednesday. The current order — requiring face coverings in public places and in situations where physical distancing isn’t possible — is set to expire Thursday. 

The announcement comes one day after the city council voted to extend the county’s emergency declaration until at least Jan. 5, 2021. It also follows Logan extending its order through mid-October, despite some objections from city residents.

“We’re six months into this emergency and we recognize that until we have a vaccine we need to continue to battle COVID-19,” Wilson said in a video announcement. “We now have the tools to do so until the end of the year, and I think the mask requirement will help us.”

Wilson has been a public advocate for wearing masks, floating decreased numbers just two weeks after the mask mandate was issued. 

Before the mask mandate took effect on June 27, Salt Lake County accounted for 60% of Utah’s COVID-19 cases. Just two weeks later, that number dropped to 40%.

“We now that it’s working, we’ve seen cases fall,” Wilson said. “But we’re also seeing some concern as school opens.”

As of Wednesday, Salt Lake County accounted for roughly 46% of all COVID cases reported since the outbreak in mid-March. 

“We recognize we’ll just have to continue hanging in there,” she said. “Lot of good news on the forefront, a lot of things that are representing progress as we get near the end.”

The mandate may be cut short, the county said, it public health officials report wearing face coverings are no longer necessary. 

Salt Lake County officials will be addressing the order in a news conference scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

This story is breaking and will be updated.