Editor’s note: The Salt Lake Tribune is providing free access to critical stories about the coronavirus. Sign up for our Top Stories newsletter, sent to your inbox every weekday morning. To support journalism like this, please donate or become a subscriber.
It’s Friday, May 1. We’ll provide the latest coronavirus updates involving Utah throughout the day.
[Read complete coronavirus coverage here.]
7:20 p.m.: Draper to reopen skate and cycle parks
Draper is reopening its skate and cycle parks Saturday, but warned if people don’t follow social distancing guidelines, such as staying 6 feet apart, it will shut them back down.
The city asked patrons to leave and come back later if they arrive to find the parks full.
“Thank you to our residents for their patience during this time,” the city said in a news release.
The Draper Cycle Park, at 1455 E. Highland Dr., is for mountain biking, dirt jumping and cyclocross. The skate park is at Smith Fields Park, 200 E. 13450 South.
— Paighten Harkins
3:45 p.m.: Express delivery now available at Walmart
Customers can get groceries delivered to their home in less than two hours with Walmart’s new express delivery service, the company announced Friday.
The premium service costs $10 on top of the normal delivery charge — although customers signed up for “delivery unlimited” get a break on the service — which will be available in 2,000 stores nationwide in May. Check local stores for availability via the chain’s website or its mobile app.
“We know our customers’ lives have changed during this pandemic and so has the way they shop,” Janey Whiteside, chief customer officer, said in a news release. “We also know when we come out of this, customers will be busier than ever, and sometimes that will call for needing supplies in a hurry.”
— Zoi Walker
3:30 p.m.: Two state parks see huge spike in visitors
Sand Hollow and Quail Creek state parks in southern Utah filled to capacity Friday afternoon and stopped allowing in new guests.
The two parks, located in Washington County, have been open to all since April 17, but were overrun by people Friday, the same day Gov. Gary Herbert’s State Safe, Stay Home directive lapsed and some businesses reopened.
The entrance gates at Sand Hollow State Park closed around 1:30 p.m., and Quail Creek State Park closed just before 3 p.m.
Those planning to visit those parks this weekend are asked to be flexible with travel plans and consider less popular destinations.
Officials also urged people to practice “#ResponsibleRecreation. That means visitors should check social media and state parks websites for long wait times or closures, visit state parks on off-hours and days, stay six feet away from people on trails, stay home if sick and pack out what you take in.
Parks updates will be posted at stateparks.utah.gov.
— Paighten Harkins
2:50 p.m.: Farmers, ranchers can apply for state grants up to $40K
Utah farmers and ranchers adversely impacted by the pandemic have until May 15 to apply for a new state grant program, officials from the Utah Department of Agriculture and Food announced Friday.
The funding is part of a $20 million program passed by the Utah Legislature and signed by Gov. Gary Herbert.
“This is a critical relief program for the many farms and ranches in Utah on the brink of going out of business during this crisis,” Agricultural Commissioner Logan Wilde, said in a news release, “as prices for many commodities have dropped drastically and many distribution outlets have been greatly reduced,”
Grants are capped at $40,000 and will be given to operations that suffered harm between March 1 and Dec. 30, 2020, “as a result of federal, state or local public health measures taken to minimize the public exposure to COVID-19.”
The program will begin once federal funding from the CARES Act is received, the news release states, and will be administered by the Utah Conservation Commission.
The application and funding requirements can be found here.
— Kathy Stephenson
2:35 p.m.: As Utah begins to open again, state epidemiologist warns of a probable second wave of virus
As the state loosened COVID-19 restriction from red to orange on Friday, the state epidemiologist warned Utahns to expect a second wave this fall — and for the pandemic to linger for perhaps a year.
“We are anticipating a second surge in cases to coincide with the [fall] flu season, given that they’re both viruses and spread in the same way,” Dr. Angela Dunn said at a Friday briefing.
She cautioned what will happen is unknown, and many different prediction models exist. “None are perfect in predicting what’s going to happen, especially with a novel pandemic.”
Still, she said the state is preparing for that second wave later this year with healthcare providers and local health officials.
“I think the challenging piece is going to be that element of social distancing. Will we need additional social distancing restrictions come fall when or if we see a second peak?” she said.“That’s going to be something that we as a state and society have to figure out: what’s a tolerable level of doing social distancing again in the fall if we do see another peak.”
Dunn was also asked how long she figures COVID-19 may continue as a threat in Utah, and suggested perhaps a year.
“We, of coure, can’t predict anything,” she said. “But with a second wave potentially coming in the fall, we anticipate this pandemic being on the top of our minds and a priority especially until we get a vaccine. So we’re looking at least at another year.”
— Lee Davidson
2:10 p.m.: State deploys ‘strike team’ to COVID-19 hot spot for first time
For the first time, Utah has sent a special “strike team” into a COVID-19 hot spot to help provide extra medical care and protection.
Dr. Angela Dunn, the state epidemiologist, said Friday that a team was sent to what she described as a residential facility in Utah County that houses adults with intellectual disabilities. She said 15 of its 40 residents and nine staff members had tested positive there for the virus.
“They don’t typically have nursing care there. It is more an intermediate care facility,” she said.
“Our strike team is providing that level of nursing care in addition to medical supplies that they don’t routinely stock there — including PPE [personal protective equipment] — to be able to care for the ill residents in that facility and then also prevent further spread."
Dunn said the team also is closely watching and testing residents who tested negative.
She said state officials are approaching the situation with “a sense of urgency” and is working with local health officials and the facility to minimize any spread.
The action comes a day after Dunn said the state was preparing strike teams to enter hot spots as needed around the state.
Teams will be set up differently to meet the needs of each specific situation, but Dunn said the current team include medical treatment staff and investigators to trace contacts that infected people had with others, and people to test residents and staff who need it.
— Lee Davidson
1:55 p.m.: Uintah County leaders will hold next commission meeting via Zoom at local restaurants
Like most government bodies in Utah during the coronavirus outbreak, the Uintah County Commission plans to hold its next meeting virtually on Zoom. But this time, leaders plan to tune in from more than 20 local restaurants across the county.
Elected officials from Uintah County, Vernal City, Naples City and the city of Ballard “will all be eating in locally-owned restaurants and attending the meeting virtually,” the county said in a news release Friday.
The goal, according to a county spokesman, is to show support for local restaurants, which are beginning to reopen after coronavirus related closures over the past few weeks.
Under the new restrictions announced by Gov. Gary Herbert this week, dine-in restaurants services can start back up, but with some new rules. Businesses will need to reconfigure tables and chairs to promote social distancing, screen employees at the start of their shifts and be prepared to turn away diners with symptoms of COVID-19.
As coronavirus cases continue to rise in more populous parts of the state, some restaurants have indicated they want to take it slow before they welcome customers back in. That’s unlikely to be an issue in the Uintah County area, though.
The northeastern Utah community is part of the Tri Country Health Department district, which has reported just over a dozen cases, one hospitalization and zero deaths.
Uintah County’s next meeting will take place Monday at 11 a.m. and will be live streamed on YouTube.
— Taylor Stevens
1:20 p.m.: No new deaths, but state reports 156 new COVID-19 cases and 13 hospitalizations
Utah reported no new deaths from COVID-19 on Friday — but the number of new cases rose by 156.
That brings the total number of cases in the state to 4,828, up by 3.3% in a day.
Salt Lake County reported 88 new cases for a total of 2,526, an increase of 3.6%.
Utah County added 36 cases for a total of 993. That is an increase of about 3.8%.
The state reported 13 new hospitalizations on Friday, bringing the total to 403 since the pandemic began.
The state also said that 4,057 more people had been tested for COVID-19, for a total now of 112,558.
— Lee Davidson
11 a.m.: Donate meals to hospitals, homeless
For every $12 meal donation customers make at Midvale’s Curry Up Now, the fast-casual restaurant chain will match, company officials announced this week.
All the meals from the “Roll It Forward” campaign will feed front-line workers and the homeless.
“Curry Up Now will match every donation meal for meal and deliver the meals directly to the heroes on the front line at local hospitals,” according to the company’s website, “as well as those whose lives and jobs have been impacted by the COVID-19 crisis.”
The first delivery will go to Salt Lake Regional Medical Center and Intermountain Healthcare on Nurses Appreciation Day, May 6. All donations after this will go to other groups hit hard by the coronavirus, including furloughed or unemployed hospitality workers and those in homeless shelters.
Online orders can be placed on the Curry Up Now website or through its mobile app.
— Zoi Walker
10:50 a.m.: Pick up an ice cream sundae kit
Ice cream season is here and Baskin-Robbins is helping satisfy the craving with its build-your-own “Sundae Kits” for pickup.
Each box costs $24.99 and includes two quarts of ice cream, a liquid topping (like peanut butter or fudge sauce), two dry garnishes (like sprinkles and cookie dough pieces), whipped cream and cherries. Cups, spoons and napkins also are included.
Customers must order online or through the mobile app. Carryout and curbside service are available.
Baskin-Robbins stores can be found in Salt Lake City, West Valley City, South Jordan, West Jordan, Sandy and Bountiful.
— Zoi Walker
9:50 a.m.: Drive-thru ‘Light the RioT’ show to raise money to support caregivers
Rio Tinto Stadium, home to the pro soccer clubs Real Salt Lake and Utah Royals FC, will play host to what is billed as the largest drive-thru light show ever mounted at a stadium — with all proceeds going to aid health care workers fighting the coronavirus pandemic.
“Light the RioT” will open Tuesday, May 5, and run through May 12, in the stadium’s parking lot, near 9400 South and State Street in Sandy. Hours are 8:30 to 11 each night.
Tickets are $30 per car, available online at LightTheRioT.com. Proceeds will go to the RSL Foundation’s front-line relief to assist Utah health care workers. Buying tickets in advance is recommended; organizers expect them to sell out.
The show’s producers, Wonder Entertainment, say the show will have more than a million lights, synchronized to music (heard via car radio) — along with animation, fire sticks and stadium effects.
Organizers say they will adhere to social distancing guidelines. Visitors will not be allowed to leave their cars, and there are no restrooms available. Staffers will wear masks, and use hands-free ticketing.
No buses, limos or trailers are allowed. The height limit for vehicles is 10 feet. The show’s main entrance is on the stadium’s south side, off of 9400 South onto Rimando Way.
“During this unique and crazy time, we wanted to provide an experience for families to have a safe activity to participate in, provide jobs, and give back,” show organizers say on the event’s website.
— Sean P. Means
8:50 a.m.: Health care workers can get free coffee during Nurses Week
Health care professionals can get a free roasted coffee next week at participating Corner Bakery Cafe locations.
The offer is good May 4-8 — for National Nurses Week, the company said in a news release.
The java promotion is available for takeout and dine-in — where available — when workers present a valid ID.
In Utah, Corner Cafe has stores in Salt Lake City, Murray (Fashion Place), Draper, Bountiful, Ogden and Orem.
— Kathy Stephenson