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Arizona lawmaker's office told 'hire an attorney' if small businesses unclear on Ducey order

Posted at 1:25 PM, Apr 03, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-03 18:07:05-04

PHOENIX — The staff of U.S. Rep. Greg Stanton says their office was told by the governor's staff that small businesses who don't know if they're essential should 'hire an attorney.'

Stanton’s office tells ABC15 that they have been seeking clarity for days as well since their constituents are reaching out to them for guidance and help.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey, who appeared in a Town Hall on Thursday evening, was asked repeatedly about salons being listed as essential in the state.

One answer the governor gave in the town hall was that salons are not covered, and another stating that the businesses that are mentioned are not inside the order.

“Like I said, the businesses that are being mentioned here, are not inside the order," Ducey said. "What they’re taking is some part of the order and they’re behind that.”

The executive order that details essential items that was issued last week states, "personal hygiene services" are considered essential.

The term can be interpreted vaguely, but then the governor's office goes a step further on their website, stating that personal hygiene services includes barber shops and salons.

On Thursday, mayors from around Arizona came together to send the governor a letter to seek clarity in his order.

Here is the full letter, signed by nine mayors from Arizona, sent to Governor Ducey:

Dear Governor Ducey:

In this time of unprecedented crisis, we recognize that there is no simple playbook for elected leaders. We understand that to help stop the spread of COVID-19 and make it out successfully on the other side every level of government will need to work collaboratively in the best interest of residents.

Data clearly shows that communities who have implemented early and strict social distancing, coupled with aggressive testing, were not only more successful in stopping the spread of COVID-19 but were able to economically recover more quickly following the apex of the virus. We would like to see these same measures implemented in Arizona so that our residents can benefit from the lessons learned in other communities.

In accordance with this guidance, we believe the creation of a much more condensed list of "essential" services should be implemented uniformly across Arizona. We know every community has different needs, however, clear guidance on what defines an "essential" service has been put forth by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, through their Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA).

The CISA list of "essential" services is comprehensive and works to identify workers who conduct a range of operations and services that are typically essential to continued critical infrastructure viability. CISA states that "The industries they support represent, but are not limited to, medical and healthcare, telecommunications, information technology systems, defense, food and agriculture, transportation and logistics, energy, water and wastewater, law enforcement, and public works."

Nowhere on this list are personal hygiene services, such as beauty salons or manicurists. We believe in tailoring the state's list of essential services, we should also be focused on the message we are sending to Arizonans. Although recreation is not defined as an essential service or activity by CISA, we do believe that getting outside into nature is important for the mental and physical health of residents. However, we believe that keeping social locations open, such as golf course clubhouses and barber shops, sends a signal that this virus is not as serious as it truly is.

We strongly urge you to tailor your list of essential services in support of the healthcare workers and first responders risking their health to keep our community safe from COVID-19. We have heard from multiple healthcare organizations and first responders who fear that should more restrictive measures not be put into place before a surge in cases hits, the time to act will have already passed.

We thank you for your consideration on this topic and hope to work beside you in the coming days, weeks, and months to keep all Arizonans safe and healthy.

The governor's office said in a tweet that they would provide clarity Friday afternoon.

In an order released at 2:15 p.m. Friday, Ducey redefined what services constituted "essential" businesses, announcing that salons, spas and barber shops would be required to close by 5 p.m. Saturday. READ THE FULL STORY HERE.