Tuesday, April 14, 2020

On-Again, Off-Again Evictions Now Off Again for the Most Part

Posted By on Tue, Apr 14, 2020 at 1:00 PM

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At the end of March, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey delivered an executive order that temporarily stopped residential evictions under specific circumstances related to the COVID-19 outbreak.

After hearing news of this executive order, the Pima County Consolidated Justice Court postponed all their eviction hearings. According to a news release, they've been instructed not to do mass postponements, but rather evaluate each case individually.

This has resulted in a resuming of evictions during the COVID-19 emergency. More than 373 evictions have been scheduled to take place this week, according to the release.

Gov. Ducey's order delivered on March 24 specifies that a tenant should not be evicted if:

• They are required to self-quarantine based on a COVID-19 diagnosis;
• They are ordered by a medical professional to self-quarantine based on identified symptoms;
• They live with someone who is diagnosed with COVID-19;
• They have a health condition that makes them more at-risk for COVID-19 than the average person, as defined by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention;
• They suffered a substantial loss of income due to COVID-19 including job loss, reduction in pay, closure of their place of employment, they had to stay home with their child or other "pertinent circumstances"

The order still allows for an eviction to be carried out if a court determines that "enforcement is necessary in the interest of justice."

Yesterday, the Justice Court received clarification from Dave Byers, administrative director of the Arizona Supreme Court. He said Arizona Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Brutinel has not ordered that all eviction cases can be postponed, but given the current health emergency, he "encourages" (not orders) all judges to postpone "routine failure to pay" evictions.

Today, Justice Court officials announced they will put off hearing all “routine failure to pay” eviction case until May 4, 2020. According to their release, the court will "continue to hear evictions alleging material and irreparable breach and will vet cases related to COVID-19."

Most other city and county court cases have been delayed as a result of outbreak.

The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Arizona had reached 3,806 as of Tuesday, April 14, according to the morning report from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Pima County had seen 685 of the state’s confirmed cases.

The coronavirus had killed 131 people statewide, including 32 in Pima County, according to the state health department.

In Maricopa County, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases had risen to 2,056.
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 face mask 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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