This week as the Senate negotiated a COVID relief package, I met virtually with Utahns from around the state to hear what was on their minds in these difficult times.

Our hospitals are looking forward to getting their frontline workers vaccinated but they are also worried that these vital individuals will experience symptoms and feel sick for a day or two after being vaccinated. They are strategizing on how to ensure they can get all the workers vaccinated but still have enough staff feeling healthy and able to work at any given time.

Utah’s businesses were also eager for the vaccine to be distributed and in the meantime, they were looking for a liability shield from Congress as well as an easier process for Paycheck Protection Program loan forgiveness.

Our medical equipment producers had some frustrations about the complicated process when working with the Food and Drug Administration and other entities within the Department of Health and Human Services. They also described difficulties in selling their goods on various internet marketplaces.

Our energy industry continues to experience fluctuations in demand and worries that necessary regulatory flexibility will not continue in the new year.

After each of these calls, I felt more informed about the implications of the pandemic on Utahns and the efforts being made to safely recover. The participants gave me a great deal to think about and areas of reform to consider.

Utah has handled this pandemic far better than most states, we have the 5th lowest unemployment rate in the country, and we should be proud of that. But there is still much work that needs to be done and my door is always open to you to hear how my staff and I can help you.