Monday, March 30, 2020

Gov. Ducey Issues 'Stay At Home' Order

Posted By on Mon, Mar 30, 2020 at 2:34 PM

click to enlarge COURTESY PHOTO
  • Courtesy photo
Gov. Doug Ducey has issued a statewide stay-at-home order as confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Arizona have climbed past 1,100.

Under the order, Arizonans are still able to shop for groceries, medical and household needs, and pet supplies. You can also go work, pick up a take-out meal from a restaurant, travel to take care of a family member, friend or pet, and can still go walking, hiking, biking and golfing, provided that you adhere to social distancing guidelines. Essential businesses, as recently designated by Ducey, may remain open.

“Arizona citizens and businesses are already responsibly responding to this crisis," Ducey said. "This order builds on the state’s efforts to protect public health by reminding Arizonans to maintain healthy habits and find alternative ways to stay connected with friends and loved ones while spending time at home. Slowing the spread of COVID-19 will ensure we build capacity in our healthcare system, and help protect the lives of those we love most. It’s important to emphasize that there are no plans to shut down grocery stores. People should continue to buy what you need for a week’s worth of groceries."

Local officials such as Mayor Regina Romero have been calling for Ducey to take further steps to restrict people's activities as the outbreak spreads.

Ducey's order comes as the number of deaths from the virus hit 20 and statewide confirmed cases surpassed four figures. A total of 1,157 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Arizona, according to the morning report from the Arizona Department of Health Services. There are now 187 confirmed cases in Pima County.

In Maricopa County, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases has risen to 690.

Earlier today, Gov. Doug Ducey and State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman announced this morning that school closures would continue through the end of the school year. Schools are transitioning to online learning and districts across the region are delivering lunch and breakfast meals to kids via school buses or setting up central locations.


Many Tucson businesses closed over the weekend after Mayor Regina Romero issued an order to shutter all non-essential businesses that are unprotected from mandatory closure by Gov. Doug Ducey, who has said that Arizona needs to have consistent rules statewide. Romero’s order is effective through Friday, April 17.

“After consulting with my colleagues on the City Council, the City Manager, City Attorney, medical professionals, small businesses, and other stakeholders, I have determined that these actions are necessary to protect public health,” Romero said. “Although these are painful decisions, we have a moral obligation to do what is in the best interest of our residents and protect public health.”

Romero said she wished she could do more, but Ducey’s order—which allows grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants (via takeout and delivery), barbershops, beauty parlors, parks, golf courses, and other “essential” businesses to remain open—limited how many businesses she could order closed. She asked Tucsonans to stay home and avoid necessary trips and urged Ducey to issue a statewide “stay-at-home” order.

“We cannot afford to wait any longer; COVID-19 is not waiting and neither can we,” Romero said.

[image-3]Health and government officials have urged the public to avoid unnecessary trips and gatherings of more than 10 people. They warn that the extremely contagious virus is rapidly spreading in the community. Symptoms can take up to 14 days to appear, so people can pass COVID-19 without realizing they have been infected with it. Some people remain entirely asymptotic but are carriers.

In Oro Valley, Mayor Joe Winfield extended closures of bars, gyms, theaters and other places where people gather through the end of the declared statewide emergency. As in other communities, restaurants can offer carry-out and delivery service.

In addition to extending that order, Winfield’s latest amendment also closed playgrounds, basketball courts, fenced dog parks and other amenities in the town and strongly urged personal hygiene businesses to close. He also suspended regulation on temporary signs to aid businesses that remain open.

“The Town Council understands that this unprecedented situation is significantly impacting many of our local businesses,” said Winfield, in a statement. “Suspending enforcement of the temporary sign code in our commercial corridors is one meaningful way we can try to help businesses that have modified operations to let our residents know they are open for business. I hope the community will continue to patronize these places, as appropriate, during this emergency.”

In the face of the spreading virus, Ducey has also halted to evictions for 120 days; ordered bars, gyms and theaters to be closed in any county with confirmed COVID-19 cases. Critics say Ducey should go further and issue a state-at-home order for the state.

Ducey has also halted all elective surgery to keep hospital beds available for COVID-19 patients; loosened regulations to make telemedicine more available and increase eligibility for AHCCCS, the state's Medicaid program; and activated the National Guard to assist in grocery stores as Arizonans clear the shelves.

Courts have rescheduled most hearings to avoid spreading the virus.

COVID-19 symptoms typically occur two to 14 days after exposure, and include headache, fever, cough, and shortness of breath, according to the CDC. However, some cases of the virus are entirely asymptomatic. Practices to avoid infection include social distancing (of at least six feet), washing your hands, avoiding unnecessary trips and not touching your face. COVID-19 can survive on cardboard for up to 24 hours, and on stainless steel and plastic surfaces up to three days.

If you think you have been exposed to COVID-19 and develop a fever, cough or difficulty breathing, speak with a healthcare provider for medical advice. According to the CDC, people who are mildly ill with COVID-19 are able to recover at home. Stay at home and avoid public transportation, but stay in touch with your doctor. If you do leave your home, wear a facemask and clean your hands often. If you develop more severe symptoms (persistent pain or pressure in the chest, confusion, bluish lips) get medical attention immediately. Your local health authorities will give instructions on checking your symptoms and reporting information.

Have you caught COVID-19? Are you feeling ill? Is your small business struggling to make it? Have you lost your job as a result of the outbreak? Are you struggling to manage your kids while schools are closed? Tell us your COVID-19 stories. Send an email or photo to tucsoneditor@tucsonlocalmedia.com.

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