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Utah lawmakers gather in a virtual special session to address impacts of COVID-19

Posted at 7:40 AM, Jun 18, 2020
and last updated 2020-06-18 09:40:19-04

SALT LAKE CITY — The Utah State Legislature will meet in a special session Thursday to address several issues regarding the impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The lawmakers will meet virtually in the session that gets underway at 9:30 a.m.

It will be live streamed on the FOX 13 webpage and Facebook page.

The legislators will consider a bill to expand immunity for businesses that might expose someone to COVID-19.

They will discuss the idea of making it a crime if someone intentionally coughs on a first responder.

The main point of debate will be when the state should move to a "green" risk level.

State Epidemiologist, Dr. Angela Dunn, has said in order for Utah to do that, there needs to be a consistent drop in cases over 14 days. Instead, cases in the state are rising.

She and other members of the state's coronavirus task force are concerned that people aren't following the recommendations that will help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus -- namely social distancing and wearing a face mask.

"We have got to get our public on board with participating in those two things or we`'re going to have a rough time going forward," Major General Jefferson Burton said. "Or we may have to back things off which nobody wants to do."

The Utah Dept. of Health has also signaled it may be cutting ties with TestUtah, the Utah County-based operation that has faced questions about the accuracy of tests it is conducting.

The contract was extended for 45 days, but there's an option to open up future contracts for public bids.