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Statewide Mask Mandate Goes Into Effect Amid Virus Surge

Utah began a major shift in fighting the coronavirus pandemic Monday, implementing a statewide mask mandate for the first time and planning a dramatic increase in testing. 

The move came a couple days after the presidential race was called for Democrat Joe Biden, but Republican Gov. Gary Herbert said the mask mandate's timing wasn’t political. He said it was an essential move to avoid disaster with a surge already threatening to overwhelm hospitals ahead of the holiday season. He says politics has gotten in the way of addressing the crisis effectively. Utah joins more than 30 other states that have implemented statewide mask orders since the pandemic began.