Utah Counties Require Face Coverings

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On June 25, Governor Gary Herbert approved requests by leaders in Salt Lake and Summit Counties to require face coverings in indoor and outdoor settings where social distancing is difficult or impossible.  The Governor had previously mandated the use of face coverings in state buildings, including state offices, liquor stores, colleges, and universities.

Salt Lake County Public Health Department subsequently issued a public health order, effective June 26 at midnight, requiring face covering “that completely covers the nose and mouth in public areas where consistent social distancing of at least six feet is not possible, reasonable, or prudent.”  Salt Lake County also issued guidelines clarifying the requirement for masks or face coverings in the following situations:

  • At all indoor or outdoor public gatherings where social distancing is not possible
  • Inside or while waiting outside retail and other public locations
  • While waiting to be seated at bars or restaurants

The order does not require face coverings when social distancing can be easily maintained, for persons with certain health conditions, or for children under age two.  Face coverings are also not required if they would prevent the performance of essential job functions or when engaged in strenuous activity, such as swimming or similar activities.

Summit County’s public health order requires face masks or coverings while waiting to enter or while inside any indoor space open to the public, as well as at all indoor or outdoor public gatherings of 50 or more.  Notably for employers, the Summit County order requires employees, staff, or volunteers to wear face coverings whether inside or outside the workplace in the following situations:

  • When interacting in-person with any member of the public
  • Working in any space visited by the public, regardless of whether anyone from the public is present or not
  • Working in any space food is prepared or packaged for sale or distribution

Like the Salt Lake County order, the Summit County order contains exemptions for children and individuals with medical conditions making the use of masks difficult or impossible.  It also contains exemptions for communication with the hearing impaired or eating or drinking at a food establishment, among other things.

If you have questions about compliance with these new public health orders in Utah, contact your Stoel Rives Labor & Employment counsel.

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