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AM News Brief: U Football Season Tix, Davis County Burn Ban & Moab Liquor Store Set To Reopen

Photo of the interior of Rice Eccles Staduim.
Brian Albers
/
KUER
The University of Utah is offering accommodations to its football season ticket holders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This story and more in the Tuesday morning news brief.

Tuesday morning, April 28, 2020

State

Open With Care

Utah has seen more than 4,200 COVID-19 cases as of Monday, but the state department of health says the growth rate for new cases continues to remain low. As Utah prepares to lift some restrictions on public gatherings and nonessential businesses by May 1, epidemiologist Angela Dunn says they must do so with caution. Any resulting increase in cases, she said, would mean increasing restrictions again. So far, Utah has tested more than 100,000 people and the department estimates over 1,600 have recovered. — Jessica Lowell

Delaying Medical Care

Utah’s hospitals have seen a sharp reduction in patient admissions over the last two months. Some of it was by design, following the state’s month-long ban on non-emergency procedures. But doctors said it’s also because some patients are choosing to stay away. When they do come in, they have more severe symptoms than if they had sought care earlier, leading to more difficult hospital stays and even death. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Republican Jan Garbett Gets Another Shot At Gubernatorial Primary

Republican candidate for Governor Jan Garbett now only needs about 19,000 valid signatures — rather than the normally required 28,000 — to qualify for the primary ballot. A federal judge ruled social distancing orders related to COVID-19 deprived Garbett of 32% of the time allotted to candidates to gather signatures. So, he reduced the number of signatures she needs by that amount. Roughly 90% of Garbett’s signatures will have to be validated, to earn her a spot on the tick. That could be a difficult feat, as more than half of the first batch of signatures submitted by Republican candidate Jon Huntsman Jr. were reportedly thrown out. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Northern Utah

Davis County Burn Ban

Davis County fire officials announced Monday that open burning in the county will be banned for the rest of the year. Homeowners are not allowed to burn anything in their yards including garbage and debris, and fires at campsites are only permitted where the fire pit has been approved by the Davis’ fire warden. There are exceptions — farm operators and horticulture locations can burn if they follow established laws. City fire chiefs and the Davis fire marshal say the ban is necessary because of poor air quality and the impact COVID-19 has had on emergency services. A 13-acre grass fire is currently burning north of Farmington Canyon. Firefighters continue to battle the Shepard Fire on Tuesday, and will be using a helicopter for water drops if necessary to secure the fire line. — Ross Terrell

U Changes Refund Policy for Football Season Tickets

The University of Utah is offering accommodations to its football season ticket holders due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a letter sent to ticket holders Monday, the U announced temporary changes to its refund policy. Now, people can transfer their payments to 2021, use the refund as a tax-deductible donation or simply get their money back. The season ticket renewal deadline has also been extended to May 13, but there is still no official word on whether the college football season will be impacted by the pandemic. — Jessica Lowell

Southern Utah

Moab Liquor Store Set To Reopen

The state liquor store in Moab will reopen Wednesday after being shut down for nearly a week when a store employee tested positive for COVID-19. Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control spokesman Terry Wood said the worker contracted the virus from a family member, and all other employees have tested negative. Wood said the store was completely sanitized and disinfected by a contract crew. Doors open at noon Wednesday, and all employees will wear gloves and masks. The Salt Lake Tribune reports that the state liquor store in Murray is closed because of the same circumstances. — Diane Maggipinto

Region/Nation

Less Snowpack Means Less Drought Data

In much of the West, snowpack levels have historically been one of the more reliable ways to determine whether a drought was coming. But a report out last week says climate change could soon make snowpack data much less reliable. Right now across the West, 50-75% of surface-level water supply comes from snowpack. But as temperatures increase with climate change and the snow turns to rain, the precipitation ends up somewhere else like in the soil or underground water tables which is harder to measure. — Noah Glick

Navajo COVID-19 Update

The Navajo Nation reported 53 new cases of COVID-19 Monday and no new deaths. None of the new cases is in San Juan County, the Utah portion of the reservation. There are 21 cases in Utah Navajo. Tribal leaders said more than 10,000 tests have been administered. — Diane Maggipinto

Federal Funding For Native American Tribes

A judge has ruled in favor of tribal nations in their bid to keep Alaska Native corporations from getting a share of $8 billion in coronavirus relief funding — at least temporarily. U.S. District Judge Amit Mehta in Washington, D.C., issued the decision late Monday. He said the U.S. Treasury Department can begin distributing money to 574 federally recognized tribes to respond to the coronavirus pandemic but not to the corporations. In the meantime, he's considering the larger question of whether the corporations are eligible for any of the funding. The decision comes in response to lawsuits filed by at least 15 tribes against the Treasury Department. — Associated Press

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