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AM News Brief: Economic Forecast, Busy Camping Weekend Ahead & Epic Pass Discount Aims To Keep Skiers Post-Pandemic

Photo of cliff dwelling.
Bureau of Land Management
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Bureau of Land Management officials expect a dramatic jump in the number of visitors this week as many families head out of town for Easter and spring breaks. This story and more in the Tuesday morning news brief.

Tuesday morning, March 30, 2021

State

Some Will Stick To Bail Reform Principles — Despite Repeal

A major bail reform law in Utah passed last year is set to be repealed in May. But some prosecutors and defense attorneys plan to adhere to the current law as much as possible, even after it’s gone. The Utah Sheriffs Association, however, is hoping the criminal justice system will revert back to the previous cash bail system, arguing it is better for public safety. Read the full story.Sonja Hutson

Economist Optimistic On Utah’s Economy

Zions Bank Chief economist Robert Spendlove said the future is looking bright for small businesses in Utah. He cited census data which found 7 in 10 small businesses in the state have recovered or expect to recover, and just under half said they are already operating at pre-pandemic levels as of March 26. “While many businesses continue to struggle, I am confident that as more vaccines rollout, that we will continue to see Utah’s economy grow and thrive.” Spendlove said. The state’s job market has also fully recovered according to Spendlove, Utah’s unemployment rate is 3% — the second lowest in the country. — Jon Reed

State Job Fair

The Utah Department of Workforce Services is hosting a virtual job fair this Thursday. More than 100 Utah employers with more than 3,400 open positions statewide are expected to be part of the online event. DWS officials said more than 1,600 of the job openings are in the healthcare industry. There are also jobs in construction, education, hospitality, retail and manufacturing according to officials. Director of the Workforce Development Division Loggins Merrill said "Although Utah continues to rebound from the pandemic with the top economy in the nation, we know there are still people looking for work." — Bob Nelson

Expect Company On Public Land This Weekend

Bureau of Land Management officials expect a dramatic jump in the number of visitors this week as many families head out of town for Easter and spring breaks. The BLM Utah office estimates that there were almost 8.4 million visits to public lands across the state throughout 2020. BLM officials said it's best to plan ahead and have a backup plan for camping over the coming week. — Bob Nelson

Southern Utah

Utah Legislature Funds Water Project In Navajo Community

Utah will provide $500,000 to help bring electricity and water to a small Navajo community in San Juan County. The community of Westwater, located on land owned by the Navajo Nation just outside of Blanding, is home to 27 families. The Navajo Tribal Utility Authority is currently working with a state power co-op and Blanding to extend electric lines to Westwater. Navajo Nation President Jonathan Nez thanked the Utah legislature and said the tribe will also look for money to fund the project. — Kate Groetzinger, Bluff

Region/Nation

Vail Resorts Discounts Epic Pass In Bid To Keep New Skiers

The pandemic shut down ski resorts in early 2020, but by this season people felt safer to ski outside with the blessing of public health officials. Adrienne Saia Isaac is with the trade group the National Ski Areas Association. She said visitation has been pretty good, but revenues will be down compared to normal years, especially for hotels and restaurants that rely on the industry. Another big challenge is retaining new skiers who were attracted to the sport this year because it’s relatively COVID–safe. That’s partly why Vail Resorts, one of the biggest ski resorts in the mountain west, will cut the price of its Epic pass by 20% next year. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau