Rumor control: No mask mandate plans for Utah

This communication was sent to the Utah Legislature from Utah DHHS Executive Director Tracy Gruber on August 31, 2023.

Dear Members of the Legislature,

Beginning about two weeks ago, the Governor’s Office and the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) started receiving an increasing number of inquiries from the public on whether the state will be returning to mask mandates, community testing or instituting any COVID-specific actions to reduce the spread of COVID-19. We have been responding to these inquiries as they come. However, I have been informed that as representatives of your communities, you are also receiving a number of inquiries and may also have questions. Hopefully, the following information will be useful to you and your constituents.

While there is an anticipated increase in COVID-19 during the upcoming respiratory virus season, the state, through the DHHS has no plans—now or in the future—to enact a mask mandate in Utah or institute any COVID-related response activities such as widespread community testing. 

The state’s response shifted over a year ago to align with a typical disease response similar to the seasonal flu. That being said, we continue to distribute home tests to schools and other community partners, with an emphasis on reaching vulnerable populations who may not otherwise have access. Additionally, as the state’s public health agency, we will continue to track prevalence of COVID-19 throughout the state and encourage Utahns to stay up-to-date on their immunizations and take precautions to keep themselves and those around them healthy as we approach this year’s respiratory virus season.

Please note that the 13 local health districts, which are county led, and health systems may implement a different approach at their determination.