April 08, 2021

UHA position statement: continuing face mask requirements in healthcare settings

On March 24, 2021, Utah Governor Spencer Cox signed HB# 294—Pandemic Emergency Powers Amendments—which essentially lifts the statewide face mask mandate in Utah on Saturday, April 10, 2021.  Private institutions and businesses are free to set their own policies regarding masking and related health measures.

The Utah Hospital Association’s Board of Trustees, in consultation with UHA’s COVID-19 Chief Medical Officer Work Group, recommends all healthcare settings continue to implement a masking requirement past April 10th for the health and safety of staff, patients and visitors. It is recommended that face masks continue to be required in healthcare settings until such a time as all who desire to be vaccinated have the opportunity to do so and local conditions are favorable for relaxing requirements as determined by clinic, hospital or health system leadership.

Face masks have been proven to be very effective in mitigating the transmission of COVID-19 infection. As specified in HB #294, masks will still be required in K-12 school settings and in gatherings of 50 or more people. Under current conditions, it is in the best interests of patients, staff, visitors and the general public that wearing masks be required by visitors to hospitals and other healthcare environments where vulnerable and ill people are present.

While Utah is seeing an encouraging drop overall in the number COVID-19 cases and vaccines continue to be successfully rolled out, variant strains are still of concern. The effects of relaxed restrictions, coupled with Spring Break travel and family holiday gatherings, are unknown at this time and Utah’s hospitals recognize the need to remain vigilant to protect individual and public health.