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PM News Brief: In-Person Classes At BYU, Rising Depression Rates & Mayors' Request To Mandate Masks

Photo of a sign that says Brigham Young University on the university's campus
istock / Wolterk
Brigham Young University plans to resume in-person classes Aug. 31, the university announced Tuesday.

Tuesday evening, June 23, 2020

STATE

Utilities To Resume Normal Billing, Work With Customers

Both Rocky Mountain Power and Dominion Energy will resume normal billing next month despite the continuing coronavirus pandemic. The utilities said in separate statements they recognize customers are still experiencing difficulties paying bills but the moratorium on power and gas disconnections wasn’t a permanent fix. Rocky Mountain Power has encouraged its customers to take advantage of repayment plans and said people can ask to waive late fees if they do so. As for Dominion Energy, people can set up a plan to have their payments spread out over 12 months. — Bob Nelson

NORTHERN UTAH

Salt Lake’s Mayors Ask Governor To Mandate Masks

For the past two weeks, Utah’s department of health has announced more than 300 new daily cases. And Tuesday, officials announced 394. Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson on Tuesday sent Gov. Gary Herbert a formal request to allow the county to require people to wear face coverings in certain public settings. Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said on Twitter, if Utah required masks, it could “help us turn the tide and save lives.” Herbert’s office said in a statement that he’s considering all options of how to deal with the recent rise and “continues to be a strong champion for regular wearing of a face covering in public.” — Ross Terrell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

BYU To Resume In Person Classes Aug. 31

Brigham Young University announced Tuesday it’s planning on resuming in-person classes when the fall semester starts Aug. 31. In a series of tweets, the university said students and employees will be required to wear face coverings in classrooms and all university buildings. The semester will be a hybrid model and still involve remote classes. It will be totally online after Thanksgiving. BYU noted the decision could change based on what’s happening with COVID-19 trends in the state. — Jon Reed

Salt Lake City DMV Office Set To Reopen

The DMV office in South Salt Lake will reopen Wednesday, about a week after a worker there tested positive for COVID-19. It has been closed since June 15. Since then, the building has been deep cleaned and no other employees tested positive for the disease. DMV customers are encouraged to visit the department’s website to see if their services can be done online and make appointments for those that can’t. — Caroline Ballard

Salt Lake County Cancels Free Testing Events

Because of overwhelming demand, Salt Lake County has cancelled all upcoming free COVID-19 testing events, including testing sites that were supposed to be open Tuesday afternoon. The free testing had been intended for communities most impacted by the virus, primarily in western Salt Lake County. Testing was open to those with and without symptoms, and was scheduled to run through this weekend. The county says it needs the time to restock testing supplies and make testing more efficient so wait times are shorter. Officials said free testing will likely resume after the July 4 holiday. — Caroline Ballard

REGION/NATION

Depression Rates Up Across The Mountain West

A recent survey shows that depression is a growing problem in both the nation and the Mountain West region. Researchers at Harvard, Rutgers, Northeastern and Northwestern Universities conducted the survey and found that more than 27% of people in the U.S. are exhibiting symptoms of moderate to severe depression. Some states had a lower percentage, but all had at least two to three times the levels of depression detected before the pandemic. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

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