• Michelle

Today the Provo City Recorder conducted a recount of the petition signatures gathered as part of an effort to put a question on the ballot regarding Provo City Ordinance 2020-13, which deals with brewpub licensing. The recount was conducted in the presence of one of the petition sponsors with representatives from the County Clerk’s office present to answer questions, if necessary, regarding whether signers were registered to vote in Provo. The result of the recount was that the petition sponsors had submitted 3,069 certified names. This did not meet the requirement of 3,157 certified names. Therefore, the petition is not qualified for the ballot. The original count by the City Recorder, conducted on July 16, 2020, was 3,019 certified names. Thirty certified names were added during the recount because the sponsor was able to provide proof that technical requirements of state law regarding submission of those names had actually been met, which we did not have at the time of the original count. Nine certified names were added as a result of identifying names that had been marked as verified in the hard copies of the signature pages, but had not been included in the list of certified names provided to the City Recorder’s Office. The remaining eleven certified names added during the recount were the result of identifying various issues such as signatures that had been added below the last signature line on the page, signers that had signed multiple times but had not received credit for either signature, etc.

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  • Michelle

Construction will reach a significant milestone on UDOT’s Provo 500 West reconstruction project this week as a new traffic configuration is put into place between 500 North and 600 North on 500 West. This traffic shift represents the completion of more than 60 percent of all construction activities since work began in spring 2019 — with several other project features coming online over the next few months.

Traffic will be shifted mid-block between 500 and 600 North to accommodate a new phase of work on the project. Additionally, all traffic south of 500 North will be shifted to the west side of the roadway. Traffic will remain in this configuration until work on the north end of the project is complete — anticipated to happen by the end of the year.

Due to the nature of the work on the north end of the project, there will be additional temporary, intermittent traffic shifts between 500-800 North to provide a buffer for construction activities. Motorists are encouraged to drive alertly through the work zone, and follow signage and speed limits. Once work north of 500 North is done the project will be two-thirds of the way complete.

Work on the project has been very challenging with the amount of utility relocations and upgrades needed, while trying to maintain traffic and keep driveways open at the same time. Sections of the roadway are now being opened and we want to give credit to Provo City, our residents and businesses, and the project contractor.

Future project milestones will include: full pedestrian access to sidewalks on both sides of the road between 50 South to 300 South and restored residential and business driveway access through this area by mid-August. Side streets at 100 and 200 South will be paved and open as well.

By the end of July, crews will finish work on the 10-foot multi-use path along the east side of the road between 50 North to 300 North. Completion of the new path through this area fully restores pedestrian access on both sides of the road.

Finally, all concrete roadway, curb and gutter has been placed between 500-800 North. Before the end of July, residential and business driveways on the west side of 500 West within this section will be reopened.

The project is on schedule to have all roadway construction done by the end of this year. New concrete sidewalk will be completed by early next year, as will the majority of landscaping. The project is anticipated to be completed in summer 2021.

The project team sends weekly updates with project progress and impacts and encourages the public to sign up at the address below. The team can be reached with questions and concerns by calling 385-250-0606 or emailing provo500w@utah.gov.

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  • Michelle

That is the question asked in hundreds of emails I’ve received. Of those emails, half demand a local mask mandate while the other half are equally adamant against one. Without a doubt, the issue of mask-wearing has become political and, as my inbox shows, our community, our state and our nation are divided.

We are in the midst of a health pandemic the likes of which none of us have ever experienced in our lifetimes. Is it any wonder there is confusion and frustration over what each of us should be doing to protect ourselves and those around us? Only adding to this confusion is how inundated we all are with conflicting information.

At the outset of this pandemic we committed to a health-first policy that relies on the expert advice of health professionals and those tasked with managing our state and county COVID-19 response. Following the guidelines provided by the Utah County Health Department and the Utah Coronavirus Task Force, we developed our COVID-19 recovery plan, Proceed with Caution, released on May 4 and available online at covid19.provo.org.

The voluntary wearing of masks was and remains one of the safety guidelines we strongly support and highly recommend.

Noticing the recent increase in state and local cases, I reached out to Ralph Clegg, Executive Director of the Utah County Health Department to help eliminate some of the community confusion we are all feeling.

Q: What is causing the recent increase in cases?

While some increase is simply the accounting of back-logged cases, we are seeing an actual surge of cases since Memorial Day. This does not need to be a cause of panic, but rather a reminder to recommit to protecting our community by each doing our part.

Q: As the agency with the authority to request a county-wide mask mandate from the State, will you clarify if Utah County has a mask mandate or if you are considering it?

Utah County Health Department has not issued a mask mandate. While it is always an option if our case counts and other data points justify it, a mandate requires enforcement to be effective and that would reduce resources needed for enforcement elsewhere.

While we hear about city mask mandates throughout the nation, no Utah cities and only one Utah town (Springdale) have issued a mask mandate. Three Utah counties have also taken that step: Salt Lake, Summit and Grand.

Wearing a mask when we can’t social distance is a small sacrifice to pay for our overall community health and well-being.

Q: What can citizens best do to protect themselves?

Social distancing is key and if safe spacing is not an option, wear a mask. In social situations it’s particularly important to be vigilant in social distancing, with mask protection highly recommended.

Q: What are the best sources for up-to-date and useful health information?

No one piece of data accurately reflects the complete COVID-19 picture, so health professionals look at much more than just case count. Other important considerations include testing, hospitalizations, deaths, available hospital capacity, transmission rate and age groups impacted, to name just a few.

The Coronavirus Task Force website at coronavirus.utah.gov provides a wealth of information on statewide trends, outbreaks, hospitalizations and mortality rates with all data tracked from

March 1 until present. One graph referenced as a useful local resource is the Cases by Local Health Department, found at https://coronavirus.utah.gov/case-counts/.

Taking recommended precautions during this unique and challenging time is important to stop the spread in our community. Let’s bond together as a community to rise to whatever challenge comes our way. Stay safe and healthy!

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