Prompted by the impending end of the state’s mask mandate on April 10, Gov. Spencer Cox said he anticipates that COVID-19 vaccines will be available to every adult in Utah by April 1.
“Once it became clear that the Legislature planned to end the mask mandate immediately, and with a veto proof majority,” said Cox spokeswoman Jennifer Napier-Pearce, “our administration worked with them to push the date back to get as many people vaccinated as possible.”
To do that, she said, “We anticipate opening up vaccine eligibility to every adult in the state on April 1 and will likely have 1.5 million doses in the state by April 10.”
The announcement echoes what Cox said in an appearance on Fox News on Friday: “We anticipate that by April 1st every adult in the state of Utah will be eligible for the vaccine.” The governor added that he expected Utah will “have about 1.5 million vaccines in the state by April 10, when that mandate goes away.”
While the statewide mask mandate will end April 10, Napier-Pearce pointed out that it will continue after that date in schools and for large gatherings.
“Also, businesses can still require masks,” she said. “And, of course, every individual can choose to wear a mask.”
Matt Caputo, the CEO of Caputo’s Deli, said the mask mandate de-escalated tensions with some customers in his business, speaking in a video he posted on social media. He urged the governor to veto the bill ending the mask mandate on April 10, although lawmakers could then vote to override that veto.
“Before the statewide mask mandate was put in place by Gov. Herbert, our crew was dealing with vitriol and negativity — like, really mad people — several times a day,” he said in the video. “It became the hardest part of the pandemic. And it was really draining and it burned a lot of people out.”
He said that ending the mask mandate on April 10 “before our essential workers are able to get fully vaccinated, is absolutely outrageous.”
Caputo expressed skepticism that the vaccine will be available to every adult starting April 1. And questioned how many people could be “fully vaccinated” by April 10. (The Moderna and Pfizer vaccines require two doses several weeks apart.)
He urged Cox to veto the bill to give workers “a chance to get fully vaccinated. They’ve been working every single day through this. They’re frazzled. They’re tired. And a lot of them are scared.”
The Utah Department of Health reported the number of Utahns who have either received both doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccines, or the one-dose Johnson & Johnson vaccine, has exceeded 328,000, which is slightly more than 10% of the state’s population.