Summit County Mask Mandate Overturned


Photo credit: Molly-Mae Sims.

On Friday, January 21st, the Utah House of Representatives voted to overturn Summit County, Salt Lake County, and any other county mask mandates in the state of Utah. 


The resolution, SJR -3, passed with a 45-29 vote in the House with a majority of House Republicans supporting the resolution. Some Republicans sided with House Democrats, such as Republican Councilwoman Aimee Winder Newton. 


House members such as Rep. Candice Pierucci, the House sponsor of the resolution, argued that the mask mandates were more divisive than they were helpful; others such as Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall denounced the resolution and asked people to continue wearing masks. 


The resolution came after the Summit County Health Department and the Salt Lake County Health Department put in place mask mandates on January 6th and January 7th, respectively. The mandates were passed as a surge in COVID infections worried many locals in both counties. The mandates required all people over the age of 2 to wear masks inside public places, including restaurants, stores, places of worship, and schools. 


The removal of the county mask mandate was reported to school Administrators on Friday afternoon. 


“Our objective is to keep our students safe at school and we will follow … whatever guidelines that the State has for us,” said Roger Arbabi, principal of Park City High School. 


No further guidelines have been given to school administrators by health officials.


“We’re here to educate our students based on the standards that we have…[but] it seems that we’ve become health officials also, it’s just not a very fun position for us because it’s become such a political topic,” said Arbabi.


Roughly one hundred Park City High School students joined in a walkout on Thursday, January 20th to protest the resolution. The same week, the Park City School District reported that some students at the High School had refused to wear masks in the school building and were consequently suspended.