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It’s Saturday, March 21. We’ll provide the latest coronavirus updates involving Utah throughout the day.
[Read complete coronavirus coverage here.]
4:35 p.m.: State makes it clear — It’s not seeking to bust Utahns who gather
Days of consternation between county and state officials about potentially prosecuting people violating public health order guidelines led to the Utah Department of Health releasing an amendment that clarifies there won’t be widespread criminal penalties for people who gather in group larger than 10.
The amended order, signed Saturday, told prosecutors its purpose was to protect people from the coronavirus. It then asks prosecutors to use discretion before charging someone for violating the public health order.
This order doesn’t add any additional restrictions for Utahns. Instead, it tries to answer questions people have had about what constitutes a “gathering,” and how businesses should operate while employees socially distance.
The 10-person limit at gatherings, it said, doesn’t apply to government services, like police or fire departments, or other necessary services, such as hospitals, grocery stores and homeless shelters.
In updated guidance for businesses, the order asked employees to telecommute, if possible. If that’s not an option, businesses should try to avoid having people work in groups larger than 10. Where that’s unavoidable, the order says employees should practice good hygiene and try to stay six feet away from others.
Employers should also screen workers daily for symptoms of COVID-19. Those with symptoms should go home.
“Implementing rigorous social distancing measures is crucial to preventing the spread of novel coronavirus, but we don’t want Utahns to feel like we are threatening them with criminal prosecution,” Gov. Gary Herbert said in a new release.
— Paighten Harkins
3:15 p.m.: More campground and river trip closures at Utah’s national parks
If you’re thinking about riding Canyonlands National Park’s White Rim during the coronavirus epidemic, you’ll only have till Thursday to pull it off unless you can pedal the 90-mile bucket-list journey in a day.
Admission might be free, but Canyonlands plans to shut down all overnight use, including trips on the Colorado and Green rivers, which meet up in the park in southeast Utah.
Dinosaur National Monument also canceled all trips, effective Monday, on the Yampa River until further notice, although the campgrounds remain open and are free to use.
On Saturday, Canyonlands closed its Island in the Sky and Needles campgrounds, normally full in the spring.
And, beginning on Thursday, backcountry camping will come to an end, according to park spokeswoman Karen Garthwait.
Canyonlands’ visitor centers had already been closed, as is the case with most of Utah’s other national parks, including Dinosaur’s famous quarry. But entry fees are not being collected at any of these parks, which remain open, under the order of Interior Secretary David Bernhardt.
He recently waived entry fees at national parks and other destinations administered by Interior as a way to accommodate outdoor recreation during the coronavirus pandemic.
Arches National Park was already closed to camping, in accordance with a local health department order that bans camping in Grand, Emery and Carbon counties.
At Zion National Park, the park concessionaire closed the Zion Lodge on Saturday through May 21. The park’s campgrounds remain open.
Check park websites to get the latest status updates before leaving to visit a park.
— Brian Maffly
2:10 p.m.: Utah courts postpone all jury trials
All Utah jury trials are on hold at least until June 1, according to a new order issued Saturday by Matthew B. Durrant, the chief justice of the Utah Supreme Court.
He also ordered his fellow judges to reassess all defendants held on class B or C misdemeanors to determine if they could be released from jail. That comes after Salt Lake County prosecutors and defense attorneys struck a deal to start removing nonviolent inmates from the jail.
The order says anyone summoned to court for any reason will get a new date to appear after June 1, though the courts will remain open, shifting to video hearings to keep criminal and civil matters moving.
If an in-person hearing is necessary, Durrant wrote that the court must follow all public health orders, limiting the number of people who attend and how close they can get to one another.
— Matt Canham
12:48 p.m.: State health department reports 136 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Utah
Utah has 136 confirmed cases of COVID-19, state officials reported Saturday, up from 112 on Friday.
Salt Lake County has 14 new cases of coronavirus since Friday, raising its total to 60. That includes 13 new resident cases and one involving a visitor. That nonresident brings the statewide total of out-of-staters to 11.
Summit County has discovered four new cases, bringing its total to 39.
That means 73% of Utah’s cases are in either Salt Lake County or Summit County.
Davis County is at 14 cases, up two from the day before. Wasatch County has three new cases, for a total of seven.
The Utah Department of Health reported that at least 2,560 Utahns have now been tested. This is likely an undercount, since private labs are not required to report to the department the number of tests they perform.
— Joe Baird and Sean P. Means
11:15 a.m.: Breakdown of senior shopping hours
Grocery stores across the state have temporarily created special shopping and pharmacy hours for seniors 60 and older during the coronavirus outbreak.
Here are the details, most times are in the morning, and where to go:
Monday through Saturday, 8 to 9 a.m.
Dan’s Fresh Market, all locations.
Dick’s Fresh Market, all locations.
Lin’s Fresh Market, all locations.
Macey’s, all locations.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 7 to 8 a.m.
Harmons, all locations.
Smith’s Food and Drug, all locations.
Monday, Wednesday, Friday, 8 to 9 a.m.
Ream’s Food Stores, all locations. (A special aisle reserved for seniors at 2600 W. 4700 South.)
Monday through Sunday, 7 to 8 a.m.
Whole Foods Market, all locations .
Monday through Sunday, 8 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
Whole Foods Market, 1131 E. Wilmington Ave., Salt Lake City.
Tuesday, 6 to 7 a.m.
Walmart, all locations.
Wednesday, 7 to 8 a.m.
Target in American Fork, Sandy, Orem and 7025 Park Centre Drive, Salt Lake City.
Wednesday, 8 to 9 a.m.
Target in South Jordan, West Jordan, Provo, West Valley City and 1110 S. 300 West, Salt Lake City.
Sunday, 9 to 10 a.m.
Dan’s Fresh Market, 2029 E. 7000 S, Cottonwood Heights, and 1360 S. Foothill Blvd., Salt Lake City.
Lin’s Fresh Market, all locations.
Macey’s, Draper, Holladay, Murray, Olympus, Ogden, Sandy Tooele and West Jordan locations.
Macey’s pharmacy, Draper, Holladay, Murray, Ogden, Olympus, Sandy, Tooele and West Jordan locations.
Sunday, 8 to 9 a.m.
Macey’s pharmacy, all locations.
— Zoi Walker
9:45 a.m.: SLC will limit parking enforcement
Salt Lake City won’t be issuing nearly as many parking tickets as normal, according to a fourth emergency declaration issued by Mayor Erin Mendenhall on Saturday.
The city wants to minimize fines on residents who may be in self-quarantine. This would include stopping parking enforcement on time-limited parking and the standard prohibitions in residential neighborhoods.
But the meters downtown will still be monitored and tickets issued to make sure some parking turns over throughout the day.
“The ability of our residents to stay home and socially distance themselves is crucial right now,” Mendenhall said in a statement. “We want to make that as easy as we possibly can.”
The declaration also allows city employees to take city cars home.
— Matt Canham