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PM News Brief: Zion Shuttle, Donovan Mitchell Legacy & Thanksgiving COVID-19 Cases

Photo of Donovan Mitchell in a special jersey that says "Say Her Name."
Utah Jazz via Twitter
Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell signed a five year contract extension last weekend. Mitchell has been one of the NBA’s most vocal advocates for racial justice, following the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor earlier this year. This story and more in Friday evening's news brief.

Friday evening, November 27, 2020

State

Legislators To Consider Bill Limiting Governor’s Pandemic Power

The Utah state Legislature plans to consider several bills early next year to place limits on the governor’s emergency powers during the coronavirus pandemic. Some lawmakers have asked for special sessions to pass their own restrictions. But Republican House Speaker Brad Wilson said instead, leaders have opted to give feedback directly to the governor. Wilson said they’re also bringing bills to the next Session that would give lawmakers more say and clarify state code when it comes to state of emergency orders. Wilson also said he thinks Governor-elect Spencer Cox will be more open to feedback from lawmakers. — Sonja Hutson

Two Day COVID-19 Case Total Tops 6,000

Utah health officials announced more than 6,000 new cases of COVID-19 Friday. But that’s a two-day total, as the state did not update its coronavirus dashboard on Thanksgiving. Officials reported 15 more Utahns died from the disease and as of Wednesday, nine inmates at the state prison in Draper have died after contracting COVID-19. The state’s week-long average for new cases is 2,764, which is down 17% compared to last week this time. About 62,500 cases are currently considered active. — Ross Terrell

Utah’s Weekly Unemployment Update

Nearly 4,500 Utahns filed for new unemployment benefits last week according to data released Friday by the state’s Department of Workforce Services. That’s down slightly from the week before. About 3,100 Utahns ended their claims during this same time period. Still, more than 28,000 people are continuing to receive unemployment benefits. But department officials said while that number is high compared to record lows last year, it’s still well below where the state was at the start of the pandemic. — Ross Terrell

Northern Utah

Donovan Mitchell Says He’s Focused On Championships And Racial Justice

Utah Jazz star Donovan Mitchell signed a five year contract extension last weekend. Mitchell has been one of the NBA’s most vocal advocates for racial justice, following the police killings of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor earlier this year. Wearing a Black Lives Matter shirt during his press conference Friday, Mitchell said he’s excited to compete for championships with the Jazz but he wants social change to be his lasting legacy. “The game is great,” Mitchell said. “This game has allowed my family to live the way we live, but at the end of the day it doesn’t hide you from being black. It doesn’t hide you from the injustices of this world.” Mitchell wore a jersey with the phrase “Say her name” on the back after the NBA returned to play this summer following a four month layoff due to COVID-19. — Ross Terrell

Southern Utah

Zion Shuttle Shutting Down Until Christmas

The daily shuttle service at Zion National Park will be suspended Nov. 29 until Christmas and New Years. But Zion will remain open and visitors can park in the main canyon to get to trailheads. People visiting between Christmas Eve and Jan. 2 can reserve $1 shuttle tickets in advance, starting Nov. 30 or the day before they visit. A reservation system has been in place for the shuttle since the summer to limit the number of people entering the park. — Lexi Peery, St. George