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Arizona cities declare states of emergency amid COVID-19; restricting restaurants, bars

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Posted at 12:55 PM, Mar 17, 2020
and last updated 2020-03-29 01:18:31-04

PHOENIX — Cities around Arizona are declaring states of emergency in response to the coronavirus pandemic.


Mayor Kate Gallego declared a state of emergency for the city of Phoenix, prompting the immediate closure of bars and moving restaurants to delivery, takeout and drive-thru only, that began at 8 p.m. Tuesday night.

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"We are doing this in response to the need to have small groups and to promote social distancing. We are doing this to keep our community safe," Gallego said in a video message that was posted on her Twitter account. "We understand that this is incredibly difficult for our small businesses and the workforce that will be impacted by this."

She said she made the decision after speaking to leaders, hospitals, and health associations, including the Infectious Disease Society of America and the Arizona Nurses Association.

"What they’ve told me is that right now they are preparing to treat people in tents because we don’t have enough beds. We expect doctors to have to make heartbreaking decisions about who gets a ventilator and who doesn’t. They’ve said that by declaring an emergency, we at the City of Phoenix can help them save lives," she said.

The closures are set to take place until further notice.

If you see a business not abiding by the city's restrictions, call the city's 311 help line and report it. Those not abiding by the rules will not be cited over the next 72 hours, instead, they will be warned with educational outreach to remind them of the new rules.

There will be a vote to decide parameters and further details on the declaration during Wednesday's City Council meeting.


The mayor of Chandlerhas declared a state of emergency following in the direction of several other cities in Arizona that have also made an emergency declaration. Mayor Kevin Hartke says in doing so he urges businesses, restaurants, food courts, retail food facilities and other establishments to use delivery ad to-go services to reduce the spread of the virus.

"When applicable, businesses also are urged to set limits on the purchase of essential items per household. In addition, businesses and residents with gatherings of 10 people or more are implored to implement social distancing and follow CDC recommendations. This includes public places such as gyms, bars and clubs," the statement went on to say.


The city of Globe has declared a state of emergency Thursday evening. Mayor Al Gameros announced the emergency proclamation for "receiving federal reimbursement and providing for emergency procurement." The mayor also says the state of emergency has no impact on local bars and restaurants.
The statement goes on to say, "Council believes business owners and residents will work together with the City officials to comply with CDC recommendations to limit gatherings of 10 or more people."


The mayor of Queen Creek announced a state of emergency has been declared following a council meeting Wednesday evening. Effective March 19 at 6 p.m., all Queen Creek municipal buildings will be closed. The Town will continue to provide services to the public online and via the phone (480-358-3000). The closure does not impact the delivery of critical services as staff will still report to the facilities or in an authorized telecommute situation.


The city of Mesa also declared a state of emergency later on Tuesday. It appears it will be up to the city's bars, restaurants and gyms to decide whether or not to close as a result.

"Mayor John Giles encouraged restaurants, bars, gyms, churches and other businesses that may have gatherings of 10 or more people, to adhere to the recommendations provided by the CDC. He also asked residents to support local restaurants by taking advantage of drive-through, pick-up and delivery options," the city said in a statement Tuesday.

The city of Flagstaff on Monday was one of the first in Arizona to declare a state of emergency, saying "economic impacts to our small businesses and tourism industry...have been severe" amid the spread of coronavirus in our state.


Tempe declared a citywide emergency after approval from the City Council on Wednesday.

Under the city's charter, the mayor now has the authority to enact emergency response measures, and can take other precautionary actions, including: imposing curfews, ordering businesses to reduce hours or temporarily close, closing public access to certain areas, and calling upon other law enforcement agencies to assist Tempe.

“Any action taken would be done after thoughtful deliberation and would be in line with the recommendations of state and federal agencies for the safety of the residents of Tempe and the public at large," said Mayor Mark Mitchell. "Stemming the spread of COVID-19 or coronavirus is our highest priority.”

No proclamations have been enacted as of Wednesday evening.


The town of Gilbert was one of the earliest in our state to declare a state of emergency, making the announcement on Monday.

All city-owned buildings were set to close at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Mayor Jenn Daniels announced in a video posted to YouTube.

Her declaration did not mention restrictions on any restaurants or bars.


Avondale Mayor Kenn Weise signed an emergency proclamation for his West Valley city Wednesday evening.

Weise said the emergency management measures will be in place for an undetermined period of time to reduce the severity of local impacts, receive additional aid, and to keep the city's residents safe.

“We fully understand that these guidelines will impact the bottom line of many of our small businesses,” Weise said. “These actions are necessary to protect the public’s health and help curb the spread of disease in our community.”


The city of Flagstaff was the first in our state to make an emergency declaration, with city officials making the announcement on Sunday.

In a press release issued Sunday, Mayor Coral Evans said, “The economic impacts to our small businesses and our tourism industry, which is the backbone of our economy are severe. We are working closely with Coconino County Health and Human Services who under state law is delegated the authority over public health matters on our local response to monitor this situation and ensure the safety and well-being of our community.”

Officials said the city will continue to plan for event and facility closures, modified staffing plans and work-from-home programs.

Coconino County also declared a state of emergency on Wednesday following a special Board of Supervisors session. The county was the first in our state to set up coronavirus specimen collection sites, with two in Flagstaff.


Buckeye Mayor Jackie Meck declared a local emergency Wednesday morning.

"We're taking these measures as a precaution to ensure everyone in Buckeye is safe and to properly manage COVID-19," Meck said. "You can rest assured that all essential city services - police, fire, water, sewer and trash service will continue without interruption."


The city of El Mirage has declared a state of emergency Tuesday night.

El Mirage will be closing public access to the city's facilities until April 3 and cancel all special events until May 10.

“The Proclamation provides the City Manager with clarity and the ability to act decisively which is vital to protecting public health and responding to the evolving threats posed by COVID-19,” said Mayor Hermosillo in a statement.

The city says it plans to suspends utility service disconnections until further notice.


Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane issued a declaration of emergency in Scottsdale Wednesday as part of the city’s ongoing response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Scottsdale’s incident management team and emergency operations center were activated nearly four weeks ago at the earliest indication that COVID-19 was spreading to our community. We have been working in continual partnership with federal, state and county public health departments since then. This declaration is the next step: it expands the city’s authority to take additional measures we may need as part of our ongoing response,” said Mayor Lane.

Earlier this week, Scottsdale cancelled all special events hosted by the city, as well as those scheduled to take place at city facilities, for the next eight weeks per guidance from federal, state and county public health departments. Municipal libraries, recreation centers and pools are closed.

While core city services such as water, solid waste, police and fire will remain fully operational, other departments, such as planning and development, are encouraging the public to avoid visiting in person and instead take advantage of online access to services and information.


Tucson Mayor Regina Romero signed a new proclamation Friday, March 27 of new city orders to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The proclamation orders businesses not deemed “essential,” as defined by Governor Ducey’s Executive Order issued on Monday to close from March 28 through April 17.