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AM News Brief: St. George Bar Licenses, New 24/7 Shelter & Legislative Superspreaders

Photo of the Utah state capitol building.
Brian Grimmett

Friday morning, January 8, 2021


New Utah Governor On Violence And Trump Support

Utah Gov. Spencer Cox said President Donald Trump incited the violent insurrection at the U.S. Capitol on Wednesday. But he argued there isn’t time to remove him from office in the next two weeks before President-elect Joe Biden is inaugurated. Cox was outspoken and critical of Trump when he first ran for office, but he eventually changed course and said last year he supported the President during the election cycle. Cox argued that as the leader of Utah’s Republican party, it’s his job to support the national leader of the party, but he can still criticize the president. Read the full story. — Sonja Hutson

Northern Utah

New 24/7 Homeless Shelter Opens

The Salt Lake Valley Coalition To End Homelessness has opened a second shelter in Salt Lake County. The facility has enough room for up to 120 people and will be open 24/7. Unlike other shelters, this one allows couples without children to stay together. Residents will be able to stay up to 100 days, and the shelter will provide meals. In an attempt to address homelessness during the winter, Salt Lake County has now added nearly 200 beds in shelters. — Ivana Martinez

Davis County Jail Death

An incarcerated person at the Davis County Jail died by suicide Wednesday night, according to a statement from the county’s sheriff’s office. The jail also reported an attempted suicide in November. There were also two inmate deaths by suicide earlier in the year. Investigations are underway. If you or someone you know needs help call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). — Caroline Ballard

Southern Utah

St. George Limits Number Of Bar Permits

The St. George city council voted Thursday night to decrease the number of bar permits allowed in the city’s arts district. Now only two bar permits are allowed in the downtown area instead of four, but the change doesn’t impact current permit holders. Council member Danielle Larkin said the decision was based on available space. The vote comes after the council decided in November to set the number to four. All the permits are currently claimed, and the bars have six months to act on them. If they go out of business, no one will be able to apply for the unused license. — Lexi Peery, St. George


Navajo Nation Extends Lockdown Orders

Navajo Nation health officials reported 257 new coronavirus cases and six more deaths on Thursday. That brings the tribe's totals to 24,521 cases and 844 known deaths. On Monday, the Navajo Department of Health identified 73 communities with uncontrolled spread of COVID-19 on the tribe's vast reservation that covers parts of Arizona, New Mexico and Utah. The tribe has extended the stay-at-home order and weekend lockdowns through Jan. 25. — Associated Press

Could Legislative Sessions Be Superspreader Events?

State legislative sessions have the potential to become COVID-19 superspreader events. Some states like Wyoming, Idaho and Montana are moving forward this month though with few precautions. Glen Mays with the Colorado School of Public Health said delaying legislative sessions until the vaccine becomes more widely available would make a difference. The Colorado legislature has delayed the bulk of its session by at least a month, and in New Mexico, state lawmakers will conduct the session primarily online. The Utah legislative session will begin Jan. 19, and lawmakers can choose between attending in person or online. They will also be required to get rapid COVID-19 tests twice a week if they want to be on the floor of their chamber. — Savannah Maher, Mountain West News Bureau / Sonja Hutson, KUER

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