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PM News Brief: Grim COVID-19 Record, Tax Day Drop Off & Utah Dems Want Mask Mandate

Screenshot of an online Utah income tax form
The federal and state tax deadline is Wednesday, after being pushed back three months due to the COVID-19 outbreak.

Tuesday evening, July 14, 2020


Utah’s Average Renter Unable To Afford A 2BR Living Space 

Utah renters would need to make almost $20 an hour to afford a typical two-bedroom home. But the average renter makes about $5 less than that. In fact, around 90% of Utah workers can’t afford a two-bedroom apartment or house, according to a recent report from the National Low Income Housing Coalition and the Utah Housing Coalition. The coronavirus pandemic has added another layer to the affordable housing problem. And while most people have been able to stay in their homes due to support from the CARES Act, federal aid is set to expire by the end of the month. Read the full story. — Emily Means

How The New U.S. Trade Deal Affects Utah Businesses 

The new U.S. trade deal with Mexico and Canada, the USMCA, could help small Utah businesses grow, according to the CEO of World Trade Center Utah. He said a quarter of jobs in the state are supported by international trade, and the new agreement makes that easier for small businesses. Under the multi-country agreement, more small shipments of goods won't be subject to tariffs. — Sonja Hutson

Tax Day Is Wednesday! Get Those Returns In

If you’ve been putting off filing those tax returns, now’s the time to do it. The federal and state tax deadline is Wednesday after being pushed back three months due to the COVID-19 outbreak. But don’t worry, Utah Post Offices will be open for their regular hours Wednesday. The last drop off collection will be at 8:15 p.m. at Salt Lake City’s main office, or 8:30 p.m. at Provo’s East Bay location. People can use self-service kiosks until midnight and still get a July 15 postmark. Kiosks are open 24 hours and only take debit or credit cards. The Post Office encourages people to mail their returns early in the day and to double check collection times. — Caroline Ballard

Utah Sets Grim COVID-19 Record 

Utah set another grim COVID-19 record Tuesday as health officials announced 10 more deaths. It’s the most in a single day since the pandemic began. Six people who died were San Juan County residents. Nine people who died were either hospitalized at the time of their death or in a long term care facility. Officials also reported an increase of 448 COVID cases Tuesday, but the state’s seven day positivity rate remains around 10%. So far, more than 424,000 people have been tested. — Ross Terrell

Utah Democratic Lawmakers Ask For Specific Mask Mandate

Democratic state lawmakers sent a letter to Gov. Gary Herbert Tuesday, urging him to mandate masks in long-term care facilities, like nursing homes, to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks there. Utah guidelines say that facilities should require staff to wear personal protective equipment when interacting with residents. But the lawmakers wrote that a recent outbreak at a nursing home in Blanding shows that a mandate is necessary. At least 33 residents there have tested positive for the virus, and staff were seen not wearing masks. — Sonja Hutson

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.


Fire Officials Battling Eight Blazes

Utah fire officials are fighting eight wildfires across the state and five of them have burned over 100 acres. In Washington County two have burned over 1,000acres and one near Veyo forced evacuations Monday night, but those orders have since been lifted. One fire, north of St. George, has burned over 1,600 acres, and fire officials say it was started by fireworks. The National Weather Service has issued a Red Flag Warning for southern and eastern Utah — current dry and windy conditions are ideal conditions for fires to spread. Read the full story. — Lexi Peery, St. George


Partisan News Seeing A Rise In The Region

As local newspapers continue their decline, more than two dozen partisan online news sites have popped up across the region. That’s according to researchers at Duke University. The sites have inconspicuous names like Utah Business Daily or Yellowstone Times. But they are part of a network of partisan, mostly conservative organizations. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

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