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PM News Brief: Rich Bullough Retires, Pandemic Endgame Criteria & Salt Lake City Budget

An illustration of a gloved hand holding a bottle labeled 'COVID-19 Vaccine' in front of a group of people in face masks.
Nalidsa Sukprasert
Public health orders in Utah related to the COVID-19 pandemic have now ended. State health officials announced Tuesday, Utah has met the criteria laid out in the Legislature’s “Pandemic Endgame” bill. This story and more in Tuesday evening's news brief.

Tuesday evening, May 4, 2021

Northern Utah

Reimagining Salt Lake City Public Lands As Equitable Resources

Salt Lake City is taking on a master planning process to figure out what the future of its public lands will look like over the next two decades. It’s called “Reimagine Nature,” and it includes the way residents use and access parks, trails, forests and even golf courses. The city is also trying to make natural spaces more equitable for residents, so staff has done targeted outreach to underrepresented communities. They’ve found that people of color and residents on the west side of the city want to feel more connected to parks in their communities. Read the full story.Emily Means

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall To Present Her Budget Proposal

Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall will make her budget proposal to the city council Thursday evening. The mayor’s proposal will likely focus on a few main areas: affordable housing, homelessness and funding recommendations from the city’s Commission on Racial Equity and Policing. The commission was formed after last year’s protests against police brutality gripped the city. Some of their suggestions include more training for police officers around equity issues and implicit bias and requiring officers to be recertified for crisis intervention training. Last year, the city council adopted a $326 million operating budget. That was slightly smaller than the year before, mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic. — Ross Terrell

Rich Bullough Retiring As Summit County Health Director

Summit County’s health director has announced his retirement. Rich Bullough has led the county’s health department for the past 11 years. Bullough said he was “fortunate” to be a part of the county’s COVID response. And he “wasn’t about to move on to the next phase of his life” until the pandemic was under control. He’s spent 30 years in public health according to a press release from the county. He will leave his post in August. — Ross Terrell

Public Comment Sought For Developing Land Around State Prison In Draper

The Point of the Mountain State Land Authority is looking for public input on how to develop the current location of the Utah State Prison in Draper. A new state prison facility is currently being built, and is slated to be done by next year. There are 600 acres of state-owned land at the Draper site. The authority has outlined some priorities for what to do with the area. Some of those include job creation and residential development. Folks have until Friday, May 28 to complete an online survey at — Caroline Ballard

Salt Lake City Metro Hotel Market Starting To Recover

With COVID-19 vaccinations on the rise and continued federal economic relief, hotels in the Salt Lake Metro Area are showing some signs of recovery. That’s according to research by real estate firm CBRE Hotels. It said hotel occupancy in Salt Lake could average 52% by the end of the year. That’s up from 2020, but still well below pre-pandemic levels of more than 70% occupancy. CBRE does not expect Salt Lake’s hotel industry to fully recover until 2023. — Caroline Ballard


Utah Hits Criteria Laid Out In State’s Pandemic Endgame Bill

Public health orders in Utah related to the COVID-19 pandemic have now ended. State health officials announced Tuesday, Utah has met the criteria laid out in the Legislature’s “Pandemic Endgame” bill. It required the state to meet a certain usage for intensive care unit beds, give out more than 1.63 million first shots of the vaccine and maintain a relatively low two-week case rate — similar to what the state saw during the summer lull in mid-August. The mask requirement in schools will also end June 15 or at the end of the academic year — whichever comes first. Health officials reported another 259 cases Tuesday. Thirteen more people have died from the virus but officials said 10 of the deaths happened before April 1. — Ross Terrell


President Joe Biden Unveils First Budget Proposal

President Biden’s first budget proposal came out in April, and is separate from the American Jobs Plan. While a more detailed budget will come later this spring, this version includes funding increases for some U.S. Housing and Urban Development programs. That includes $900 million for Native American housing, as well $180 million towards affordable housing for the elderly and persons with disabilities. The budget requires approval from Congress. According to the U.S. census, about 9% of Utah’s population lives in a rural area. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau

Corrected: May 6, 2021 at 11:39 AM MDT
A previous version of the story incorrectly stated when officials announced the state had reached its pandemic "endgame" criteria.
Corrected: May 5, 2021 at 9:02 AM MDT
A previous version of this story incorrectly stated when the mask requirement in schools is set to end.
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