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PM News Brief: State Park Fees, Romney On Vaccine Plan & New Year's Baby (With COVID Advice For Moms)

A woman in a black mask in a hospital bed holds a new-born baby. A man in a mask stands beside the bed with a certificate that says “New Year’s Baby 2021.”
Courtesy Intermountain Healthcare
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Teressa McMorris and Joshua Harden of South Jordan welcomed daughter Juliana at 12:09 a.m. This story and more in Friday evening’s news brief.

Friday evening, January 1, 2021

State

State Parks Increase Fees For Utahns

Utah State Parks increased their prices for annual day-use passes starting Friday because of rising operating costs and increased visitation. It'll now cost Utahns $100 dollars for a year — $50 dollars for Utah residents 65 and older. That’s up from $75 and $35 dollars respectively. This is the first time in more than 25 years the price of an annual pass has changed for residents. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Northern Utah

COVID Advice For Expectant Mothers

Intermountain Healthcare announced Friday the arrival of its first baby delivered in the New Year. Teressa McMorris of South Jordan safely gave birth to a healthy daughter at 12:09 a.m. Even with the pandemic still in full force, Intermountain Women’s Health Director Sean Esplin said pregnant women don’t face a higher risk of getting COVID-19 than anyone else, but they are more susceptible to severe complications. He said if a woman does get infected, however, her baby isn’t likely to be born with the disease. He also recommends pregnant women take the COVID-19 vaccine when available, especially if they are at high risk for exposure or have pre-existing conditions. — Jon Reed

Utah Business Owners Look To Next Round Of COVID Relief

The next round of federal COVID relief is finally on its way. That has some Utah business owners hopeful they might just be able to outlast the pandemic. The money, however, won’t solve all their problems, especially for companies in the hardest hit industries like live events and food service. Many employees in those fields have been furloughed as work came to a halt, and business owners could face challenges bringing them back. They also have at least a month before they’ll receive funds, that is, if their loan applications go through. Read the full story. — Jon Reed

Southern Utah

Zion Shuttle Parks For Season

The Zion National Park shuttle service will stop for the season beginning on Sunday. Visitors will have to rely on a limited number of parking spots in the main canyon to get to major trailheads. The shuttle typically runs through the spring, summer and fall, as well as over the holidays. Reserving shuttle tickets in advance has been required since July, and the system is being re-evaluated for spring 2021. To get a parking spot, visitors will have to plan in advance. According to the park’s social media feeds, slots filled up before noon on most days before the holidays. — Lexi Peery, St. George

Region/Nation

Romney Calls Federal Vaccine Plan “Inexcusable”

Sen. Mitt Romney, R-UT, called the federal rollout of COVID-19 vaccines “incomprehensible” and “inexcusable” in a statement Friday. Romney said it was “unrealistic” to assume “overburdened” healthcare workers and places like CVS and Walgreens could take on the “massive vaccination program.” He said the current program is “woefully behind” and that “deadly delays” may get worse as more people are eligible for the vaccine. He offered examples of ways to improve the rollout, like enlisting all medical professionals — including veterinarians, students and retired health care workers — to vaccinate people at scheduled times at established sites throughout states. He admitted public health professionals will see flaws in his plan and should develop better alternatives based on their experience. — Lexi Peery, St. George