SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — Republican leaders in Salt Lake County won’t overturn a mask mandate implemented during an omicron variant surge of the coronavirus.

Testing lines are miles long, cases are up among students and crews are struggling to staff fire and police stations, said council chair Laurie Stringham Sunday as she announced she would not call for a special session to consider overturning the 30-day order.

It requires N95 and KN95 or similar masks for a month in indoor spaces, including schools, marking the first mask mandate in many parts of the county since the school year started.

Those masks are a proven protection from the virus, and public health orders are the only tools currently available to get widespread use, she said.

There are exemptions in the order, and students don’t need a doctor’s note if they need exemptions for allowed reasons.

The order from the Salt Lake County Health Department came Friday, after days of record-setting case counts, and is in effect through February 7.

Summit County has also imposed a mask mandate. Both come after the Republican-dominated state Legislature put new restrictions on the use of mask mandates. The Salt Lake County council overturned an order for schools last year.

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