The Utah state House of Representatives ended mask mandates in the state last Friday, overriding the last two counties in the state which still had them.
Fox News reported Friday that by a 45-29 vote, the state legislature halted mask mandates for Salt Lake County and Summit County.
“I understand many people are looking for ways to combat this omicron surge. I understand many people want to bring about an end to this pandemic,” GOP state Rep Candace Pierucci said.
“Doing something for the sake of doing something is not a good enough justification.”
In addition, the legislature is poised to end another major liberal COVID program.
According to KSTU-TV, the state House of Representatives also voted in 22-5 favor of ending “test to stay,” which forced children in certain schools to take COVID tests if “schools with 1,500 or more students have 2% of their students test positive for COVID-19 within the previous 14 days” or if “schools with fewer than 1,500 students have 30 students test positive for COVID-19 within the previous 14 days.”
“There is a real urgency to let our districts and schools know what the approach that we’re going to have for ‘test to stay’ is,” GOP state Rep. Jordan Teuscher said.
It’s official. The Utah State Legislature has terminated mask mandates in the state. They also paused “test to stay” in the #COVID19 case surge: https://t.co/AJOiy6DgOH @fox13 #utpol #utleg pic.twitter.com/rN8wXfBdZ2
— Ben Winslow (@BenWinslow) January 22, 2022
The state has been maxed out on its ability to test for COVID, authorities said.
“It codifies a suspension of test to stay until the Senate president, the speaker of the House, the governor and the state superintendent of the board of education reinstate it,” said GOP state Sen. Todd Weiler.
Liberals were unhappy with both votes.
“In spite of the misguided actions of the legislature today, please continue to wear good quality masks while in public,” a statement from Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson read.
“We are at very high rates of COVID spread, and we are hopeful to have the omicron variant of the virus behind us soon. Health experts agree masks worn properly help contain the spread of COVID. Let’s all help keep our teachers teaching, our students learning, our hospitals operating and our residents healthy.”
Meanwhile, the state’s largest teachers union — the Utah Education Association — expressed displeasure with the impending end to test to stay.
“It’s such a message to send to our schools this early in the session about what extent we are going to take to help us ride out this pandemic, especially in this surge,” Heidi Matthews, the union’s president, told KSTU.
“It’s very frustrating to have the tools taken away that really impact our ability to keep our schools open, keep our kids safe, keep our learning going and really pay attention to our educators who are just at the breaking point.”
Society, however, has been at the breaking point for almost two years now — tired of mask mandates and testing requirements, tired of shutdowns, tired of censorious COVID power-grabbers telling us how to live.
In 2022, we’re beyond the point where we should be talking about mask mandates or testing children who aren’t at serious risk of COVID. It’s over. Pack it up and go home — and let people decide.
The GOP in Utah just made it so that they can. Let’s hope more states take their lead.