Poll: Utahns split over Saturday’s end to statewide mask mandate

Sergio Hernandez wears a mask while walking in downtown Salt Lake City on Wednesday, March 24, 2021.

Sergio Hernandez wears a mask while walking in downtown Salt Lake City on Wednesday, March 24, 2021. Utahns are split over whether the statewide mask mandate should end on Saturday, and only a few believe the Utah Legislature’s decision should be up to just elected officials, according to a new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll. | Kristin Murphy, Deseret News

But 44% say they want anti-COVID-19 measure to continue

Utahns are split over whether the statewide mask mandate put in place to slow the spread of COVID-19 should end on Saturday, and only a few believe the Utah Legislature’s decision should be up to just elected officials, according to a new Deseret News/Hinckley Institute of Politics poll.

Results released Thursday showed 44% of Utahns believe the mask mandate should continue beyond the April 10 date set in a new law passed before the 2021 Legislature ended last month, while 20% said the date was reasonable, 14% said it should have been sooner, and 17% said there should have never been a mandate.

The poll also found that 38% think public health experts should have decided when the mask mandate should be lifted, while just 4% would have left it up to elected officials and 3% to economic leaders and experts. Most Utahns, 42%, wanted to see the date set by a combination of those groups.

The poll was conducted April 6-8 of 610 registered Utah voters for the Deseret News and the University of Utah’s Hinckley Institute of Politics by independent pollster Scott Rasmussen and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.

The results didn’t surprise Utah Senate President Stuart Adams, R-Layton, who suggested there’s some confusion about what will happen come Saturday.

“I think there’s a little bit of a misconception that when the mandate goes away, that masks will no longer be worn. That’s just not the case. I think that in the majority of cases, masks will continue to be worn when appropriate,” Adams said, giving flexibility to what he described as “so responsible” Utahns.

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HB294, the bill that removed the statewide mask mandate put in place last November by then-Gov. Gary Herbert, allows private and public entities to require masks, at least until the state receives 1.63 million first doses of COVID-19 vaccine, likely in mid-May, as long as case counts and hospitalization rates remain low.

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall has announced masks must continue to be worn in public, but Salt Lake County is only requiring masks at county facilities. Gov. Spencer Cox, who wanted to wait to lift the statewide mandate until the vaccine dose threshold had been reached, has already issued a similar order for state buildings.

K-12 students will still have to wear masks through the end of the school year in June.

Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson, R-Kaysville, said the April 10 date in the bill was not arbitrary.

“That’s not true. We looked at where we were at. We forecasted where we …read more

Source:: Deseret News – Utah News

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