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Utah governor to allow local governments to issue mask mandates

Utah governor to allow local governments to issue mask mandates
© Cameron Lancaster

Utah Gov. Gary Herbert (R) announced Thursday he will not impose a statewide mask mandate but will allow local officials to impose mandates of their own.

Herbert said Thursday that local governments will be permitted to institute masking rules as long as they properly notify the state Department of Health.

“I come from local government and I believe that's where the rubber meets the road. One size fits all approaches are often ineffective,” he tweeted. “We respect regional differences and needs.”

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Herbert has already ordered face coverings in all state government buildings and K-12 schools, and in July he  criticized people demanding exemptions for the school mandate.

“I think the experts will tell us that’s kind of a foolish action,” Herbert said, according to The Washington Post. “People get caught up in almost a mob mentality.”

Herbert recently affirmed he believes the state “[has] the constitutional authority to mandate this.” However, the idea has faced pushback from his fellow Republicans, including Utah House Speaker Brad Wilson.

“In Utah, we prefer to encourage people to do the right thing rather than issuing mandates and demanding compliance,” Wilson told the Salt Lake Tribune in July.

Utah has reported some 43,000 confirmed coronavirus infections and 330 deaths, according to data obtained by the Washington Post.