Mask mandate to be lifted on April 10

March marks the month where COVID-19 shut down the world, forcing people into lockdown in attempts to slow the spread. Now, a full year later where some are still staying at home away from their families, work, school, the end to masks is in sight.

Against expert’s advice, Governor Spencer Cox is to sign a bill that will partially lift the statewide mask mandate starting April 10.

Jennifer Napierski said in a statement that, “Once it became clear that the legislature planned to end the mask mandate immediately, and with a veto-proof majority, our administration worked with them to push the date back to get as many people vaccinated as possible.”

Cox announced in a COVID-19 press meeting that the goal is to get as many people vaccinated as possible before individuals can choose not to wear a mask in public. According to CoronavirusUtah.gov, 16% of Utah’s population is currently vaccinated, and that number will grow rapidly when people who are at least 16 years old are eligible to get their vaccination on March 24.

“We’re still in a race between vaccinations and variants,” Dr. Brandon Webb, a physician at Intermountain Healthcare stated, cautioning people to not throw masks away too quickly. “It is important to remember that a virus is just a machine… whose sole purpose is to survive by infecting others. It doesn’t care that we’re all so tired of these precautions.”

It is expected that there will be 1.5 million first doses in the state by the time the mandate is lifted on April 10.

After his announcement, Cox wanted to make it clear that Utahns should take precautions to protect the health of themselves and their families, and that a person should continue to wear masks if they have high-risk individuals in their family.

With all this considered, the mandate will only be partially lifted. A business can still enforce wearing masks if they choose, and Utah schools will still have masks in full effect.

Day-to-day life at Hillcrest won’t be changing too much, with masks remaining as a required item within it’s halls. But maybe with Coronavirus vaccinations being doled out and the slow of masks,, the end of a crazy year is within reach.