Utah Capitol closed to public as session opens amid protests

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) — The Utah State Capitol will be largely closed to the public when lawmakers begin their work for the year next week amid planned protests in Utah following an insurrection on the U.S. Capitol last week.

Lawmakers announced Tuesday that public testimony for and against bills will be conducted virtually rather than in person. The decision comes after the Utah Highway Patrol raised concerns about the protests linked to the rally by supporters of President Donald Trump.

The annual 45-day session will begin January 19 in person, though with face masks and social distancing to slow the spread of COVID-19. Committee hearings and floor proceedings will be livestreamed at le.utah.gov.

The coronavirus pandemic has already limited public access to the state Capitol building to those who have specific business inside.

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