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AM News Brief: Utah County Loans, Granite Teachers To Rally & Oktoberfest Nixed

Photo of Snowbird Oktoberfest mugs.
Snowbird Ski & Summer Resort
There will be no Oktoberfest at Snowbird this year because of the pandemic. This story and more in the Tuesday morning news brief.

Tuesday morning, August 4, 2020

State

COVID Numbers Falling

Utah health officials reported 354 new cases of COVID-19 Monday. Although the number of new cases has fallen for the past three days, the state’s positivity rate remains around 10%. That means that while there are fewer cases — there have also been fewer tests. Three more Utahns have died from the disease. All of them were hospitalized at the time of their death. As of Monday, about 72% of the state’s cases are considered recovered. — Ross Terrell

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Northern Utah

Salt Lake Police Policy Changes

Salt Lake City’s mayor and police chief announced seven changes to policing policies Monday. The updates come in response to protests against racial injustice and law enforcement’s use of force. Some of them include requiring officers to use de-escalation tactics before using force. Another would prevent them from using deadly force when someone is in danger of harming themselves and isn’t a threat to anyone else. The mayor issued an executive order that requires the Salt Lake City Police Department to implement the changes by Sept. 5. Read the full story. — Emily Means

Granite Teachers Rally

Granite School District teachers plan to rally Tuesday before the Granite School Board meets at 5 p.m. Granite Education Association President Michael McDonough says instructors are concerned about the district’s reopening plan. Teachers say maintaining distance in the classroom is impossible given class size. The protest follows a letter sent by the group last week asking the board and Superintendent Martin Bates to reconsider and adopt a modified plan. They want to see just half the students in the building at one time and a return to a regular schedule only when COVID-19 transmission rates are as low or lower than they were in March. — Diane Maggipinto

Cottonwood Heights Protests Continue Monday Night

Dueling protesters faced off outside the Cottonwood Heights police station Monday night. The group included police supporters carrying rifles and flags in favor of President Donald Trump and protesters against police violence. The gathering was a response to use of force by officers at a protest the night before that resulted in the arrest of eight people. Cottonwood Heights police said pepper spray, stun guns and batons were used during the arrests Sunday after some protesters refused orders to keep the rally on sidewalks. The department said police were kicked, choked and hit, and five officers were treated at a hospital. Aaron and Tiffany James blamed police for inciting conflict and ruining a peaceful rally intended to honor their son, who was killed by an officer two years ago after allegedly robbing a store using an airsoft gun. — Associated Press

Utah County Business Loans

Businesses in Utah County can now apply for grant funding if they have been significantly impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. Utah County CARES Small Business Grants Program is providing $15 million, which came from the federal CARES Act. Businesses with 100 or fewer employees can apply for grants ranging from $1,000 to $20,000. The money is intended for things like rent, payroll and utility bills. Applications are open until Monday, Aug. 10. — Caroline Ballard

Stewart On Erasing History

Utah Republican Rep. Chris Stewart discussed what he sees as the danger of erasing U.S. history as a guest speaker Monday with the Sutherland Institute, a conservative think tank in Salt Lake City. Stewart called the U.S. “the greatest force for good in the history of the world.” He said even though the country isn’t perfect, it has improved a lot in certain areas, like race relations. But still, he’s worried that kids won’t be taught about the likes of George Washington or Thomas Jefferson because of parts of their history that some people today find offensive. Stewart said parents shouldn’t rely solely on schools to teach their kids American history, but that the responsibility falls on them too. — Ross Terrell

Oktoberfest Nixed

There will be no Oktoberfest at Snowbird this year because of the pandemic. General Manager Dave Fields said the decision was a tough one, given the weeks-long fest has been part of the resort's operations every year since Snowbird opened. Fields said they weighed many scenarios but determined they couldn't maintain the highest level of safety for employees and visitors. The event traditionally draws thousands up Little Cottonwood Canyon. — Diane Maggipinto

Region/Nation

Tourists And COVID

Tourism to Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks is humming along this summer despite the pandemic. But it appears that out-of-staters are bringing more than just their money with them. Nonresidents make up at least 20% of all confirmed cases of COVID–19 in two Montana counties near the parks. But health officials stress that locals are still mostly responsible for spreading the virus within their own communities. — Nate Hegyi, Mountain West News Bureau

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