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PM News Brief: Arts Festival Canceled, Major Disaster Declaration & Business Hotline Launched

Photo of downtown Salt Lake City during a past year's arts festival
KUER file
The Utah Arts Festival is postponed until June 2021 due to the coronavirus outbreak, officials announced Tuesday.

Tuesday evening, March 31, 2020


COVID-19 Found In All 13 Utah Health Districts

All 13 health districts in Utah have now reported at least one confirmed case of COVID-19. And as of Tuesday the state has seen 887 positive cases. State officials also raised the bar for the number of people they want to be able to test each day to 7,000. Five people in Utah have now died due to coronavirus. The most recent being a woman under the age of 60 who lived in a long term care facility. — Jessica Lowell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Restaurants Can Resale Raw And Prepackaged Food

For the next 30 days, the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food will allow restaurants to re-sale both raw and prepacked food from their inventory to the public. The effort is part of the state’s COVID-19 response, and the department says it will help restaurants remain viable and give consumers another way to get food. Restaurants are required to sell their products by weight and to individual customers — not other businesses. — Caroline Ballard

Utah To Issue Major Disaster Declaration

Utah plans to issue a Major Disaster Declaration Wednesday due to the coronavirus pandemic. On March 6, Gov. Gary Herbert issued a state of emergency, but this declaration gives the state more access to federal money and resources to fight COVID-19. The state’s unified command of emergency leaders has also been elevated to the highest level. Read the full story.— Sonja Hutson


Utah Arts Festival Postponed Until 2021

The Utah Arts Festival will not take place this year due to the coronavirus outbreak. Officials announced Tuesday it will be postponed until June 2021. In a press release, festival staff cited recommendations from local and national health departments on avoiding mass gatherings. Despite the 2020 cancellation, the Utah Arts Festival will announce plans to “keep the vibe alive,” it just won’t be in person. — Grace Osusky

University of Utah To Study Role Of Mucus In COVID-19 Spread

New research at the University of Utah will look at the role mucus could be playing in spreading the novel coronavirus. Biomedical engineers at the university will focus on “super spreaders” or people who may infect others more often. Researchers will use synthetic mucus and test it with non-hazardous coronavirus in order to identify who may be most vulnerable and develop more effective quarantine measures. Grace Osusky

Salt Lake County Opens Hotline For Businesses

A business relief hotline was launched Tuesday in Salt Lake County. The county’s COVID-19 Economic Impact and Recovery Team said callers will be able to get help on things like how to apply for loans, whether they’re eligible, or answers to other questions they may have. Salt Lake County Mayor Jenny Wilson said in a press release this will help businesses tap into “desperately needed resources as they become available.” The line will be open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday. Ross Terrell


EPA Backs Off Enforcing Oil Refinery Regulations

The Environmental Protection Agency will not be enforcing many regulations on oil refineries and coal plants during the COVID–19 pandemic. This means that some of the nation’s top polluters are now running on the honor system. The industry argues there may not be enough workers to run through checklists and send monitoring data. But one environmental group criticized the EPA’s move and called it a “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy on pollution. — Nate Hegyi

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