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PM News Brief: Provo Mask Referendum, Mask For Deaf Community & Salt Lake City Housing Programs

Photo of Salt Lake City.
Brian Albers
Salt Lake City is adding another $1.1 million to community housing programs. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, September 1, 2020

Southern Utah

Dixie Center Will Keep Its Name After All

The Dixie Center board voted Tuesday to keep the name of the convention center in Washington County after all. Board members voted unanimously in June to change the name of the center to Greater Zion, but quickly reversed the decision. Instead they said they’d hold off on the renaming for six months while more research was done. But four months ahead of that timeline, they decided to keep the name Dixie. That’s because of what they heard from the public, according to Washington County Commissioner Gil Almquist. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Navajo Nation CARES Act Spending Plan

The President of the Navajo Nation has released a plan for spending their remaining federal CARES Act money. It includes $35 million for Navajo college and graduate students, $25 million for housing initiatives and $30 million to help elders and tribal members with underlying health issues purchase food and pay rent. The full plan includes $177 million and will need approval from the Navajo Nation Council to become law. The tribe received a total of more than $700 million through the CARES Act. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Northern Utah

Provo Residents Filing Referendum Over Mask Mandate

Some Provo residents have filed a referendum to overturn a city-wide mask mandate. The group, Utahns for Medical Freedom, called the mask requirement a "draconian measure" and a violation of Constitutional rights. Last week, the city council voted to override the mayor’s veto and implemented a mandate for public spaces in Provo. Public health officials agree that wearing masks is one of the most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19. Other parts of the state, like Salt Lake County, already require people to wear masks. Provo's mandate expires on Nov. 15, at which point the council would have to renew it. In order to put a referendum on the ballot in 2021, UMF will need about 3,200 signatures. — Roddy Nikpour

Salt Lake City Adds $1.1 Million For Housing Programs

Salt Lake City is adding another $1.1 million to community housing programs. The money will be split between three community partners: Rapid Re-Housing, Rental Assistance and Mortgage Assistance. The funds are meant for people dealing with financial loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic, including undocumented immigrants. City officials said some residents are struggling with housing costs after the federal eviction moratorium ended, along with the additional $600 in unemployment. — Ross Terrell


Mask Solutions For Deaf And Hard Of Hearing Community

Mask wearing has been shown to help slow the spread of COVID-19 but the coverings can also cover almost half of a person’s face. That can make it difficult for people who are deaf or hard of hearing to communicate. Susan Thomas with the Utah Schools for the Deaf and Blind said using sign language can be effective, but it’s not that simple. “There’s actually a lot of important facial movement and movement you do with your mouth,” Thomas said. “In addition to the letters that they are using with their hands.” She said people should keep at least six feet of space between themselves and a hard of hearing person and remove their mask to talk, when applicable. If that’s not possible, she said people should look to other forms of communication like writing a note. — Ross Terrell

25 COVID-19 Outbreaks In Utah Schools

There have now been 25 COVID-19 outbreaks tied to Utah’s schools totaling more than 120 cases. The state’s department of health defines an outbreak as two or more cases outside of the household setting, occurring within 14 days of each other. Of the school cases, the average age has been 18-years-old and there have been no deaths. Utah health officials also reported Tuesday 296 more cases of the disease statewide. — Ross Terrell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.


FDA Open To Skipping Phase 3 Of Vaccination Trials

The Food and Drug Administration said it’s open to fast-tracking a COVID-19 vaccine, potentially skipping a step — Phase 3 clinical trials. Scientists said that stage of a vaccine trial is important. It’s when researchers can spot rare side effects that might not have been evident in earlier phases. And it confirms whether a vaccine actually works. — Rae Ellen Bichell, Mountain West New Bureau

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