AM News Brief: Impact On The Arts, Coronavirus Fraud & Crafts To The Rescue
Tuesday morning, March 24, 2020
Should Utah Shelter In Place?
Both California and New York have issued orders for their residents to “shelter in place” or stay at home to help slow the spread of coronavirus. But should Utah do the same? The state epidemiologist has said Utahns would do the right thing, but one political scientist said politics are playing a part in the decision. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson
Impact On The Arts
Nearly 90% of theaters, museums and other art venues in Utah have cancelled events due to COVID-19. That’s based on a report released by a group of cultural organizations. It estimates more than $29 million in losses, even while some organizations make an effort to shift online to connect with audiences. The economic impact report comes from a survey of more than 500 people and companies in the industry. — Jessica Lowell
Utahns are urged to report scams capitalizing on the coronavirus pandemic. U.S. attorney John Huber says schemes include selling fake cures for COVID-19, phishing emails posing as the CDC or World Health Organization and soliciting donations for fake charities. Scams can be reported at justice.gov/coronavirus. Additionally, the State Department of Commerce is strongly discouraging joking about price gouging. The agency says gags about selling toilet paper for hundreds of dollars on social media have led to threats from people who thought the posts were real. — Caroline Ballard
The Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Salt Lake is offering daycare for preschoolers to support families without options, with priority given to medical personnel and essential workers. After suspending all before- and after-school programs on March 9, club leaders received guidance from the state to launch temporary full-day preschool at the Sugar House and Murray clubs starting Tuesday. Operators will follow state and federal guidelines like limiting groups to no more than 10. All must have their temperature taken before entering the building, and must wash and disinfect hands upon arrival and various times during the day. — Diane Maggipinto
Provo College in Utah County plans to donate some $3,300 in supplies to Utah Valley Hospital. Officials say the nursing program is one of the largest in the state, and they'll hand over its medical supplies to help with shortage of personal protective equipment. The list is long — everything from N95 and other types of masks to goggles, gloves, shoe covers, surgical caps and gowns to sanitizing surface wipes and rubbing alcohol.
— Diane Maggipinto
Five days after a magnitude 5.7 earthquake shook parts of Utah, residents continue to report damage. The historic Salt Lake City & County Building has been closed since March 18 and will remain closed and evaluated before reopening, though business continues online at slc.gov. The Greater Salt Lake Municipal Services District asked those within its boundaries to submit online notices of home or business damage from the quake. There were 219 damage reports in the district as of noon Monday. — Diane Maggipinto
Changes At Zion
Zion National Park is making a few changes to operations to improve social distancing. Rangers say the Angels Landing Trail is now closed at the chains section from Scout Lookout to the end of the trail. The West Rim Trail is open. Wednesday the park's campgrounds will close and camping anywhere else in the park is not allowed. The park suspended its shuttle service last week and the Zion Canyon Scenic Drive has limited parking for visitors. The nearly 100-year old Zion Lodge is shuttered until May 21 because of coronavirus. The Narrows trail is also closed because of high water flow from the Virgin River. The Kolob Canyons Road off I-15 is inaccessible because of snow and ice. — Diane Maggipinto
Crafts To The Rescue
There’s a national shortage of personal protection equipment like face masks and gowns for medical personnel right now, but crafters are coming to the rescue. JOANN's, one of the nation’s largest fabric and craft retailers, launched a program to donate fabric and training for making masks on Monday. On day one, the company donated approximately 10,000 yards of fabric which the company says equates to about 100,000 masks. JOANN's is training volunteers in its stores on how to make the masks and gowns, but it is limiting the sizes of those classes to maintain social distancing. They’re also handing out take-home kits and offering tutorials online. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau