AM News Brief: City Library Closes In-Person, More Contact Tracing Trouble & No Drinking At Bars After 10 P.M.
Tuesday morning, November 10, 2020
New COVID-19 Requirements For Schools
New statewide restrictions require colleges and universities to test students and staff weekly starting in January. They also suspend extracurricular activities for public K-12 students, though allow intercollegiate sports, high school teams competing for championships and athletic events run by private companies to continue if health guidelines are enforced. Teacher advocates say the restrictions don’t go far enough, and are calling for the governor to shift schools to online classes for at least two weeks. Read the full story. — Jon Reed
No Alcohol Bar Sales After 10 p.m.
Gov. Gary Herbert and the state health department updated their new emergency COVID-19 orders Monday afternoon to clarify that bars and restaurants can’t sell alcohol after 10 p.m., but they can remain open. Earlier versions required bars to close at 10 p.m. Utah Department of Health spokesperson Tom Hudachko said the intent is the same — to keep group sizes small. He said crowds tend to grow as the night goes on, “so if you can restrict the sales of alcohol in both bars and restaurants and prevent those types of gatherings, you can potentially limit the spread.” Masks are required indoors, and the orders are in effect through Nov. 23. — Emily Means
City Library Pauses In-Person Services
The City Library will pause in-person services for two weeks beginning Wednesday to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. Curbside pickup for holds-to-go and take-home craft projects will continue. In a press release, library leaders said they'll consider reopening express services for patrons in person when the rate of positive tests dips below 15%. Checked-out materials can be returned to any City Library outdoor book drops, and the library will continue virtual services and access to online collections including audiobooks, movies, music and research databases. The closure includes the Main Library and all branches. — Diane Maggipinto
Mayor Calls Masks A “Courtesy,” Not A Political Issues
Four St. George area mayors voiced their support Monday for the governor’s state of emergency declaration. They urged residents to follow the mask mandate and avoid social gatherings — especially around the holidays. Ivins Mayor Chris Hart said as a 72-year-old diabetic, mask wearing is a courtesy for him, and not a political or constitutional issue. According to the director of Dixie Regional Medical Center, more people in the area 80 years old and up tested positive for COVID-19 in the past week than at any other time during the pandemic. — Lexi Peery
Challenging Gray Wolf Delisting
Wildlife advocates and environmental groups are challenging the removal of federal protections for gray wolves across most of the U.S. including Utah. Two coalitions have filed notice of plans to sue the U.S. Interior Department in federal court unless protections are restored. The Trump administration last week ended longstanding federal safeguards for gray wolves in the Lower 48. That move put states and tribes in charge of overseeing the predators and opened the door to more hunting. Gray wolves have recovered from near extinction in parts of the country but remain absent from much of their historical range. In Colorado, voters passed Proposition 114 that now requires officials there to restore and manage gray wolf populations in the western part of the state. — Associated Press
Wyoming Contact Tracers Stymied By Uncooperative People
This past Friday, the Wyoming Department of Health reported it would have to temporarily cut back its contact tracing efforts. Initially it had been calling everybody who tested positive and then all of their identified close contacts. Now, it will only be contacting those who have tested positive and asking them to let their close contacts know. Several departments in the region have also reported an uncooperative public with people not answering the calls of contact tracers, and sometimes outright refusing to answer their questions. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau
Navajo Curfew To Continue
Navajo Nation Health officials Monday reported 70 additional coronavirus cases and one more death from the coronavirus. Pres. Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer will hold a town meeting Tuesday morning. They plan to implement another 56 hour weekend curfew starting Friday night to stem the spike, pointing to Monday’s record number of COVID-19 cases out of New Mexico. — Diane Maggipinto