PM News Brief: Illegal Deer Poaching, New Home Construction & COVID Cases Climb | KUER 90.1

PM News Brief: Illegal Deer Poaching, New Home Construction & COVID Cases Climb

Apr 7, 2020

Tuesday evening, April 7, 2020

SOUTHERN UTAH

Bryce Canyon Closes Amid Fears Of Coronavirus Spread

Bryce Canyon is the latest national park to close in Utah because of COVID-19. The park’s superintendent said too many people were visiting the park to guarantee that the virus wouldn’t spread. The decision follows the recommendation of the Southwest Utah Public Health Department and is backed by leaders from Garfield County, which already has taken a big economic hit due to a decline in tourism. Capitol Reef is now the only national park in Utah to remain partially open. Its facilities, main campground and visitor services are closed. But the park’s backcountry areas are open — as are the trailheads and parking areas off Highway 24. Read the full story. — David Fuchs, St. George

Eight Deer Illegally Shot And Killed

Eight deer in Wayne County were illegally shot and killed between November and March. The Division of Wildlife Resources said Tuesday six of the eight deer were killed in late November. Officials received reports of a truck driving by and shooting two bucks and four does in a field. The other two deer were killed about a week ago. But all eight animals were left to waste. The division is still looking for information on the slaughters and say they need help protecting the herd in the county. — Grace Osusky

NORTHERN UTAH

Salt Lake County Warns Small Businesses Of Scams

Salt Lake County is reminding business owners that there are no fees to apply for COVID-19 relief funds. The county’s Economic Development Director Blake Thomas tweeted he has received reports from small business owners, especially immigrants and refugees, that people have contacted them offering help to apply to assistance programs for a large fee. Applications for the Paycheck Protection Program, Economic Injury Disaster Loan Advances and Utah’s Loan Program are all free. He recommends businesses work with their existing bank or credit union to understand their options. — Caroline Ballard

STATE

COVID-19 Cases Crack 1,700

Utah has now seen 1,738 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as of Tuesday. State Epidemiologist Angela Dunn says growth here has been relatively steady and the state is consistently seeing a 5% positive rate no matter how many people they test. But, that is a lower rate than some surrounding states. Dunn credits the lower growth rate to early implementation of social distancing measures. So far, more than 34,647 people have been tested. Gov. Gary Herbert says they would like to be able to check all Utahns for the disease. — Jessica Lowell

Smith’s To Limit Number Of In-Store Shoppers

Smith’s grocery stores have started limiting the number of people allowed inside at one time to help shoppers social distance. The company, which made the announcement Tuesday, said it’ll only allow half of the maximum occupancy to enter stores. Grocery stores are considered essential business under Utah's Stay Safe, Stay Home directive and customers are still allowed inside. Smith’s will use the same technology that tracks how many people enter the store to monitor the number of customers inside. Its parent company may also start testing one-way aisles to see if those are effective. — Grace Osusky

Follow KUER’s coverage of the coronavirus in Utah.

Utah Second In The Nation In New Home Construction

Utah now ranks second nationwide for new home construction per capita. That’s according to a study from the website Construction Coverage which analyzed U.S. Census data and home prices from the real estate company Zillow. There are approximately 89 new housing units being built for every 10,000 people in the state. St. George ranked second among all metro areas in the country for new homes — with 161 new units per 10,000 people. For large metro areas, Salt Lake City came in eighth. The median home price statewide is around $343,000, a little more than $5,000 lower than the national average.— Caroline Ballard

REGION

Utah One Of Few States With No Shelter In Place

Forty-two states plus the District of Columbia now have stay-at-home orders to slow the spread of COVID-19. The remaining seven are resisting, including Wyoming and Utah. Meanwhile, presidential advisor and infectious disease expert Dr. Anthony Fauchi has pushed for all 50 states to put the orders into place. — Maggie Mullen, Mountain West News Bureau