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AM News Brief: Help For Reopened Businesses, Domestic Violence Spike & Kids And COVID

Photo of downtown Salt Lake City.
The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce is working to connect businesses and Utahns with resources as the state moves into its second week of reopening. This story and more in the Monday morning news brief.

Monday morning, May 11, 2020


Six COVID-19 Deaths Reported Over The Weekend

Utah’s Department of Health reported 332 new cases of COVID-19 on Saturday and Sunday, bringing the state’s total to more than 6,251. Those cases represent a seven day rate of increase of 2.76%, which the state says shows that efforts to “flatten the curve” are successful. There were also six deaths over the weekend. Five of those were Salt Lake County residents over the age of 60. The other was a man under 60 who lived in San Juan County, an area hit particularly hard by the coronavirus pandemic. — Elaine Clark

Kids And COVID

A newly recognized inflammatory syndrome in children could be from COVID-19 related complications. In Utah as of Friday, there have been 310 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in people under the age of 14. As of last week, there were 100 children worldwide with Pediatric Multi-System Inflammatory Syndrome, but there are no confirmed cases in Utah yet. An official with University of Utah Health said the disease is very rare, but parents should still remain cautious. Children with the syndrome can have a fever and low blood pressure. — Jessica Lowell

Allowance For Bars

Businesses that serve alcohol no longer need approval to close while the state’s COVID-19 emergency declaration is in place. That’s after Gov. Gary Herbert temporarily suspended a section of state law that requires that approval from Utah’s Department of Alcoholic Beverage Control. This change applies retroactively to any business that closed after March 15. The aim is to make sudden closures related to COVID-19 easier for businesses and prevent them from running into issues with their license to serve alcohol. — Sonja Hutson

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Northern Utah

Resources For Reopened Businesses

The Salt Lake Chamber of Commerce is working to connect businesses and Utahns with resources as the state moves into its second week of reopening. Utah moved from the red, high risk phase of its pandemic response to the orange, moderate phase a little more than a week ago. Now, the chamber, along with the state’s economic task force, has set up a program to help businesses that have reopened get their hands on personal protective equipment like masks. The chamber is also providing fliers and pamphlets on what symptoms workers should look out for from customers entering their establishment and from employees. — Ross Terrell

Domestic Violence Spike

Domestic violence is spiking in some parts of Utah. In Salt Lake County, police sent 318 domestic violence cases to prosecutors over a three-week period beginning in mid-March. That's a nearly 22% increase from the same time frame a year earlier. The coronavirus pandemic and resultant emergency declarations mean many people are confined to their homes. For many, home is the most dangerous place, and the virus can amplify the threat. The spiraling caseload has stretched resources for victims and deepens concerns among law enforcement as judges decline to order some arrests. — Diane Maggipinto

• If you or someone you know needs help, call the Utah Domestic Violence Coalition at 800-897-5465. •The Salt Lake City Police Department’s crisis line is 801-580-7969.  • The National Domestic Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233. • The YWCA can be reached at (801) 537-8600.
Southern Utah

Bluff Stays Red

The Town of Bluff will remain under the red, high risk category in the Governor’s pandemic reopening plan. The state gave the town permission to continue implementing strict guidelines for businesses as rules become more relaxed in the rest of Utah. Mayor Ann Leppanen asked for the exemption because she said Bluff is in a uniquely vulnerable position as a border town with an older population. The exemption coincides with the expiration of a local ordinance requiring hotels to close. Now, they can reopen. But nonessential businesses must remain shut, and restaurants must do take-out only. Read the full story. — Kate Groetzinger


Why Shut Down?

For the past few weeks, the Mountain West News Bureau has been answering listener questions about the pandemic. A listener in Colorado was frustrated that the state shut down her county’s economy for a month even though the local mortality rate from COVID–19 is really low. She wanted justification for the blanket, statewide lockdown. Public health experts say fighting the virus is a collective action. COVID–19 doesn’t adhere to state or county lines. People often cross them to travel, go shopping or go to restaurants. As Western states slowly reopen, they are giving counties and cities the chance to keep closed for longer if local health officials feel it’s necessary to contain the spread. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

You can submit your own questions about COVID-19 here.

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