SLC officials assessing damage from Saturday’s protest, health officials concerned
Jun 1, 2020, 9:11 PM
(Front windows of the SLC Public Safety Building. Credit: Paul Nelson)
SALT LAKE CITY – Cleanup continues around downtown Salt Lake City after the violence from Saturday’s protest. City officials are still trying to figure out how much damage was done, and health officials are extremely concerned about what they saw over the weekend.
By Monday morning, most of the graffiti on and around the Salt Lake City Public Safety building from Saturday’s protest was removed. There were still some shattered windows and some egg splatter that hadn’t been cleaned, but, most of the building appeared rather normal. Although, police still had the streets around Washington Square restricted.
For now, city leaders say it’s hard to know how much damage was done. Acting Public Services Director Lorna Vogt says they’re trying to find out how widespread the damage is.
Vogt says, “We have some park benches and signage and things around the City/County Building. We know some were damaged, but our staff hasn’t had the ability to go around and document all of the damage, yet.”
Both the city’s facilities department and engineering department are tasked with putting a dollar figure on the damage of Saturday’s protest, but Vogt says they’re unsure how long that will take.
“Obviously, we need to put things together. We just want to make sure it’s as comprehensive as possible,” she says.
RIPPLE EFFECT ON PUBLIC HEALTH
Health officials are certain the protests didn’t help Utah’s COVID-19 picture, at all. Just since Sunday, state officials confirm an additional 202 cases, bringing the grand total to 9,999 with 113 total deaths. Utah Department of Health Spokesman Tom Hudachko says they were already concerned because the average rate of infection over the past seven days was going up. He says the state is nowhere near “out of the woods” when it comes to COVID-19 spread.
“Large group gatherings, especially those where social distancing either isn’t feasible or isn’t practiced, are simply just not safe, right now,” he says.
They’re asking anyone who attended the protest to keep a close eye on any possible symptoms of the disease. They include cough, sore throat, shortness of breath, muscle aches, fever and changes to your sense of taste or smell.
Hudachko says, “If they do develop symptoms, they should seek out testing and isolate themselves until those test results are returned and public health officials have a chance to advise them on how they should respond, moving forward.”
INVESTIGATION AND ARRESTS
As of Monday morning, investigators say 46 people were arrested since the violent protest, and more arrests are coming. Police say there were rumors stating many of the people arrested were actually brought into the state specifically for Saturday’s clash. However, Detective Greg Wilking says they haven’t seen much evidence of that.
He says, “We haven’t been able to confirm they’ve been bussed in. There were a few people from out of state, but we haven’t seen that concerted effort to bring people in.”
Wilking says there were some protestors form out of state, but the vast majority of people arrested live along the Wasatch Front. Investigators can confirm more than one group brought people specifically looking to make the already tense situation worse on Saturday. However, they’re not sure who those groups are, yet.
“We’re concerned about that. We’ll look to identify those kind of individuals,” Wilking says.
How To Prevent the Spread of COVID-19 Coronavirus
COVID-19 coronavirus is transmitted from person to person. It is a virus that is similar to the common cold and the flu. So, to prevent it from spreading:
- Wash hands frequently and thoroughly, with soap and water, for at least 20 seconds.
- Don’t touch your face.
- Keep children and those with compromised immune systems away from someone who is coughing or sneezing (in this instance, at least six feet)
- If there is an outbreak near you, practice social distancing (stay at home, instead of going to the movies, sports events, or other activities.)
- Get a flu shot.
Resources for more information:
State of Utah: https://coronavirus.utah.gov/
Utah Coronavirus Information Line – 1-800-456-7707