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PM News Brief: Boulder Elementary, Taxable Sales Decrease & Pandemic Executive Orders

Photo of a number on a table in a restaurant
Brian Albers
Taxable sales at Utah restaurants in March dropped by about 26% compared to the same month last year, according to the Utah State Tax Commission.

Monday evening, May 11, 2020


Minorities And Representation On State Coronavirus Commission

During April’s special session, the Utah Legislature created the Public Health and Economic Emergency Commission to make policy recommendations to the governor on how the state should respond to the coronavirus pandemic. Of the board’s 10 members, only one of them is a woman — and none of them are people of color. Data from the Utah Department of Health show people of color make up nearly 25% of the state’s population but almost half of its coronavirus cases, and the Utah Department of Workforce Services reports more than half of unemployment claims are from women. The commission’s co-chair said while the initial focus of the group was to represent a wide range of industries, it will consider the needs of everyone in its recommendations. Read the full story. — Emily Means

No Spike So Far In COVID Cases Since Reopening

Utah has been in the orange — moderate phase — of its pandemic response for 10 days now. State epidemiologist Angela Dunn said Monday that lifting some restrictions has gone well so far and that the state has maintained a plateau in new cases. She said Utah continues to have ample hospital capacity and stable testing numbers and that this is a sign that people are taking our public health recommendations seriously. But that does not mean the state will move to the yellow, low risk phase any time soon. As of Monday, Utah has had more than 6,300 confirmed cases of COVID-19, 68 people have died as a result of the disease and more than 150,000 thousand people have been tested. — Ross Terrell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Taxable Sales Decrease In March

Taxable sales in March dropped by more than 30% in both Summit and Piute counties compared to March of last year. That’s according to data released Monday by the Utah State Tax Commission. Those numbers also reveal the toll the coronavirus pandemic took on the arts and entertainment and food and beverage industries in the state. March taxable sales fell off by more than 50% in the entertainment and recreation sector year over year. And for restaurants, it dropped by about 26%. — Ross Terrell

Gov. Herbert Signs Executive Order Bill

Gov. Gary Herbert signed a bill Monday that requires the governor to notify legislative leadership about executive orders at least 24 hours before they publicly announce them. This only applies to orders issued in response to an epidemic or pandemic. It does not apply if there’s an imminent threat of loss of life, serious injury, or substantial property damage. The bill originally required 48 hours notice and did not have exceptions for serious injury or property damage, but the Senate changed it after negotiations with Herbert’s office. — Sonja Hutson


Midvale Resource Center COVID-19 Cases

Ten clients at the Midvale Resource Center have tested positive for COVID-19. The center provides services for people experiencing homelessness and last week it tested 140 people. Officials there announced Monday the cases occurred in seven families. The people who tested positive, along with their relatives, have since been moved to a county run quarantine facility. More than 50 staff members were also tested and three came back positive. No new clients are currently being accepted. — Ross Terrell


Boulder Elementary Shifts To Four Days 

The Utah State Board of Education has approved a waiver to allow an elementary school to hold classes on a four-day per week schedule. The Deseret News reported Boulder Elementary School in Garfield County will make the shift beginning in this fall. The education board unanimously voted to approve the waiver of a state rule requiring schools to conduct classes for at least 180 days and 990 hours per year. Boulder Elementary will add time to each day to meet the hourly requirement, according to education officials in the rural community, 200 miles south of Provo.  — Associated Press


Mountain West Unemployment

As unemployment climbs across the nation, parts of our region seem to be faring a little better — so far. At the end of April, 14.7% of the American workforce was unemployed. And a White House economic adviser said it could reach 20% by the end of this month.According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Nevada nearly reached 20% unemployment by the end of April, while Montana hovered around 15%. The lowest unemployment rate in our region belongs to Utah, at just above 6%.— Noah Glick, Mountain West New Bureau

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