SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Salt Lake City will continue its mask mandate after it is lifted statewide April 10, the mayor said Wednesday, though the rest of the county decided not to require masks and the city's rule may violate a new state law.
Democrat Erin Mendenhall said keeping the mandate will protect residents, many of whom have not yet been vaccinated against the coronavirus.
“We need to keep doing what has worked: wearing masks,” she said. Keeping the rule also prevents front-line workers from confrontations with customers angry about private mask mandates in stores, said Matt Caputo of Caputo’s Market and Deli, the Salt Lake Tribune reported.
Leaders on the Republican-controlled county council, meanwhile, decided to lift their mandate Saturday along with the rest of the state. Council Chair Steve DeBry cited public health data indicating many of the most vulnerable residents are vaccinated and hospitals won’t be stressed beyond capacity.
“There’s mask fatigue. There’s COVID fatigue. People want to get back to normal life,” he told the Deseret News.
Mendenhall said her decision doesn’t violate a so-called end game law for pandemic restrictions, but its sponsor disagreed. Republican Rep. Paul Ray said it would be a waste of time to sue the city, but he predicted political fallout.