Summit County’s mask mandate expires at midnight Jan. 25

After about a month of reinstating the mask mandate, Summit County is dropping the requirement as of midnight Tuesday, Jan. 25.

During a Summit Board of County Commissioners work session meeting Tuesday, County Manager Scott Vargo said Public Health Director Amy Wineland was in favor of dropping the mandate since the county’s case rates continue to drop.

According to the county’s website, the community incidence rate is 1,096 cases per 100,000 people.

Vargo, who said children ages 2-11 would still need to wear a mask in public indoor spaces, asked whether the county commissioners wanted to set some kind of metric for when this measure could expire. In general, all three commissioners were supportive of not setting such a goal.

“I am less inclined to attach anything to a metric because I feel like that’s just tempting the virus to do something we don’t want it to do,” Commissioner Tamara Pogue said. “When we’ve done that in the past, it’s not proved tremendously successful or reliable.”

Moving forward, Vargo said the board’s work sessions and regular meetings will be held in person starting Feb. 1. Vargo said all county facilities will maintain an indoor mask mandate for employees and for visitors until the community reaches an incidence rate of 500 or fewer cases per 100,000 people.

In general, all three county commissioners were glad to see the countywide mandate removed, especially since it caused front-line staff extra stress.

“I welcome this; I think this is an exciting development,” Commissioner Elisabeth Lawrence said. “I’ve heard from lots of business owners (and) one of the ski areas begging if we can let it go just because their staff is really feeling tired and the burden of this. And so I’m certainly supportive of letting go.”

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