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AM News Brief: Navajo Curfew Eases, Parleys Canyon Closure & Updated Quarantine Rules For Schools

Photo of I-80 near Park CIty.
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A fire in Parleys Canyon forced evacuation of homes in the Mount Aire community and closed I-80 Thursday night. The highway will close again in both directions Friday at 9 a.m. until further notice. This and more in the Friday morning news brief.

Friday morning, August 7, 2020

State

Deadly Use Of Force Laws

Some Utah state lawmakers are questioning whether suggestions to restrict when law enforcement can use deadly force could put those officers in more danger. The Salt Lake County District Attorney’s office presented the proposals to the Legislature’s Criminal Code Evaluation Task Force Thursday. The proposals include holding officers to the same standard of self defense as the public, and requiring law enforcement to use the least deadly weapon available to them that would still be effective. Rep. Paul Ray, R-Clearfiled, who chairs the task force, said he’s concerned that restricting when law enforcement can use deadly force could cause them to hesitate more, but Rep. Mark Wheatley, D-Salt Lake City, said many of the ideas presented should be discussed further by lawmakers. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Exposed To COVID? Stay Home From School

Utah’s Department of Health is now recommending students or staff who come into close contact with a COVID-19 patient spend two weeks quarantining at home. Previous guidelines from UDOH said students could still go to class as long as they weren’t showing symptoms and could socially distance. State officials said they received a lot of critical feedback on those guidelines. The new recommendations are just that though — recommendations, so school districts could still choose to allow students and staff to return to class after being exposed to COVID-19. — Sonja Hutson

Red Flag Conditions Continue

Red flag conditions continue Friday until 8 p.m. across the state from Daggett County to Washington County. The National Weather Service forecast is for strong southwest winds raising the fire danger in the Book Cliffs and Colorado River Basin areas, the Eastern Uinta Basin and the east part of Ashley National Forest, Tavaputs Plateau, San Rafael Swell, and the Central Utah, Color Country and Henry Mountains. — Diane Maggipinto

Northern Utah

Fire Closes Parleys Canyon

A fire in Parleys Canyon forced evacuation of homes in the Mount Aire community and closed I-80 Thursday night. The highway will close again in both directions Friday at 9 a.m. until further notice. Utah fire officials say the blaze is human caused. Investigators are looking for information on a large brown dump truck dragging chains that was traveling east up Parleys Canyon Thursday, and ask anyone who may have seen it to call 801-538-5555. The flames have scorched an estimated 200 acres. Salt Lake City Golf says the Mountain Dell Course will be closed today. — Diane Maggipinto

Follow KUER’s coverage of Utah’s 2020 Fire Season.

Don’t Mask Our Kids Protests

A few hundred people demonstrated on Wednesday in Orem to protest face covering requirements they said curtail civil liberties. The protesters walked without masks carrying signs that said "Don't Mask Our Kids" at what was dubbed "Rally for Liberty." The Daily Herald reports the demonstration drew Ammon Bundy, who led an armed militia in taking over a wildlife refuge in Oregon four years ago. He told the crowd to stand up against government mandates such as Governor Gary Herbert's order that requires all Utah K-12 students to wear masks in school. — Diane Maggipinto

Region/Nation

COVID Curfew Eases On Navajo Nation

Curfews on the Navajo Nation will ease a bit beginning Friday night. Officials are shifting from a 57 hour lockdown to 32 hours over the weekend. The curfew starts Saturday at 9 p.m. and continues through Monday at 5 a.m. Navajo Nation Vice President Myron Lizer said contact tracers on the Navajo Nation have determined that traveling, dining at restaurants and congregating in public areas are major contributors to the spread of COVID-19 and that staying home is the best option. The Navajo Department of Health reported 28 new cases and one death Thursday on the Navajo Nation. — Diane Maggipinto

The Show Must Go On

Music festivals around the region have been canceled due to COVID-19, but not all of them. The Mad Mountain Music Festival, in Casper, Wyoming, is still happening Aug 7. - Aug. 9. Outside festivals like Mad Mountain present far fewer risks of spreading the virus than inside concerts, and organizers are trying to meet and exceed health standards. It can be challenging though to keep people apart and police masks on the dance floor. — Madelyn Beck, Mountain West News Bureau

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