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PM News Brief: Utah alcohol sales, Western governor’s conference and high level COVID counties

Lit marquee at Egyptian Theatre says "Sundance Film Festival."
Jon Reed
Utah’s Sundance Film Festival is returning to its in-person format next year, but it will still have an online component. That story and more in this evening's news brief.

Thursday evening, Dec 9, 2021


Alcohol consumption per capita falls off in 2021

Utah's average alcohol consumption per person continues to decrease. That’s according to the annual report released Thursday by the Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. On average, Utahns consumed a little more than three gallons worth of alcohol in 2019. This year, it fell to about 2.7 gallons. But sales were up. State liquor and wine stores made over $517 million in revenue this year. That's up more than 3% from last year. Sales have increased every year since 2017. Of that money, about $215 million went back to the state treasury and to fund programs. The department opened three new liquor stores in 2021. — Martha Harris

Most of Utah remains in high transmission level for COVID

Nineteen counties in Utah remain in the high transmission level for COVID. Health officials reported nearly 1,400 hundred new cases Thursday. It’s the third day in a row with more than 1,100 in a single day. Compared to last Thursday, hospitalizations, the state’s positivity rate and week-long case average have all increased. Ten more people have died from the virus, but officials said two of them occurred at least a month ago. On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommended boosters for 16 and 17 year olds. The Utah Department of Health is asking all providers to immediately offer the Pfizer vaccine to everyone over 16. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Sundance Film Festival returns in hybrid model 

Utah’s Sundance Film Festival is returning to its in-person format next year, but it will still have an online component. Sundance officials told the Summit County Board of Health there will be stringent policies to prevent and stop the spread of COVID-19. For people attending the festival in person, vaccines will be mandated and there will be no exceptions. There will also be fewer theaters used and face masks will be required. These guidelines come as the new omicron variant has raised concerns of another potential spike. The festival is set to run from Jan. 20-30. Read the full story. — Ivana Martinez


Western governors gather in California for two-day conference

Western governors are meeting this week in California for a two-day conference. The group of 22 governors, including Utah Gov. Spencer Cox, is discussing a wide range of topics. They include the missing and murdered Indigenous peoples’ crisis, land management and even flying cars. The state leaders listened to a keynote address from Cyrus Sigari with the California-based investment firm Up Partners. They focus on advanced air mobility. Essentially small drones or other vehicles that carry people or cargo through the sky. He argues that flying cars will become mainstream in the next couple of decades. Lawmakers are taking the idea seriously. Last month, the U.S. House passed a bill creating an interagency working group to plan and coordinate efforts to bolster the air mobility industry in the U.S. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau 

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