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STATE AND LOCAL NEWS ROUNDUP | Mosquito swarms that increased after Hurricane Laura are attacking Louisiana livestock … Richmond, Virginia city council votes to ban open carrying of firearms in public spaces … Controversy over South Dakota tourism ads.
University of Texas students who attend the Longhorns game on Saturday in Austin will need to get tested on Friday and show they don’t have Covid-19, even though other attendees won’t face the same requirements. The university will provide the pre-game test for free. In Austin, gatherings of more than 10 people are banned, but Gov. Greg Abbott exempted sporting events. The school decided to allow 18,000 spectators into the stadium, which is less than the 25,000 fans they had originally proposed. Dr. Mark Escott, the interim medical director in Austin, said he remains concerned about transmission of the coronavirus, even with a mask requirement and social distancing at the stadium. “Ultimately, people have to make a decision whether or not they are going to go to the game,” Escott said. “I will be watching on my TV.” In Michigan, as high school sports started back up this week, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an order requiring players who can’t maintain a six-foot distance from others to wear masks during practice and competitions. That means football and soccer players will be required to mask-up at all times, while participants in other sports, like cross country and tennis, will have more flexibility. “The Covid-19 virus is easily spread through airborne particles and can affect everyone differently. By wearing a face covering when proper distancing is not possible, athletes will be better protected from contracting the virus and spreading it to family members, frontline workers, and vulnerable populations,” Whitmer said in a news release. [Texas Tribune; KXAN; MLive]
MOSQUITO SWARMS | Clouds of mosquitoes are attacking livestock in southwest Louisiana after Hurricane Laura, with state agricultural officials warning farmers to not just rely on local governments’ spraying to kill the pests. "What we are seeing are swarms of mosquitoes that are preying on exhausted and stressed livestock," said Agriculture and Forestry Commissioner Mike Strain. "While parishes are spraying to mitigate the problem, I also urge livestock owners to spray their pastures or use products that can be applied to the animals.” [Associated Press]
FIREARM BAN | The city council in Richmond, Virginia approved a ban on firearms at events held on public space in the city. Several councilmembers said the measure would help prevent disruption at peaceful protests by armed counter-protesters. Councilman Mike Jones called the new ordinance a common sense measure. “It’s going after individuals that are looking to do harm. Individuals that are willing to just carry around a gun to try to intimidate. This isn’t for the average gun owner in this county. And I’m a gun owner and I don’t feel that my rights are being impeded upon,” he said. [WRIC]
CALLS TO RESIGN | Rochester, New York’s mayor and the local president of the police union issued reciprocal calls for the other to resign this week following the release of details about the death of Daniel Prude, a Black man who died in March after police kneeled on his back and compressed his head while he was handcuffed. Rochester Police Locust Club President Mike Mazzeo said that “there’s a need for change” in leadership in the city. Mayor Lovely Warren said that Mazzeo is the problem. “For 30 years, the problem with policing in Rochester are cops like Mike Mazzeo that watch the video of Daniel Prude’s death and see nothing wrong,” she said. [Rochester First]
TOURISM AD | South Dakota Gov. Kristi Noem used federal coronavirus relief funds to pay for a $5 million tourism ad campaign that her administration said would help draw travellers into the state and stimulate the economy. Some in the state are criticizing the move given that South Dakota currently ranks second in the country for new virus cases per capita over the last two weeks. A spokesperson for Noem defended the expenditure, saying tourism is vital to the state’s economy. [CBS News]
Laura Maggi is the managing editor of Route Fifty and Emma Coleman is the assistant editor.
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