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Businesses seek guidance from Governor's office, make suggestions about re-opening economy

Posted at 10:25 PM, Apr 24, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-25 18:18:18-04

As Governor Ducey quietly evaluates re-opening the economy, business leaders across the valley are getting restless and have begun making suggestions and asking for clarity and guidance.

On Friday eight East Valley Chambers of Commerce, which represent more than 5,000 businesses, sent Governor Ducey a memo, stating,
"Our businesses need clarity, they need a date to begin ramping up their business models, and they need clear guidelines..."

They also made suggestions about how to re-open the economy in phases.

"People have been cooped up for a while, they are ready to get out, they are ready to socialize," said Kathy Tilque, CEO of the Gilbert Chamber of Commerce.

If the East Valley Chambers of Commerce have their way, customers could be dining in again come May 15, with strict social distancing and sanitization requirements.

"[And] only introducing up to 50% of your employees the first two weeks," said Tilque.

The chambers are proposing a phased approach for re-opening, in line with federal recommendations, including several factors.

"Has the curve leveled, do we have testing," said Tilque.

"I would love to see more testing, more face masks, more everything," said Jeff Flancer, Owner of Flancer's restaurants in Gilbert.

Flancer's is staying afloat thanks to takeout orders from loyal customers.

"I feel positive about the future. I didn't feel that way a month ago," he said.

Like Flancer's, thousands of Arizona businesses are also waiting on more guidance.

Unlike a neon sign, COVID-19 and the economy are not things you can just turn off and back on.

"I don't believe there's going to be business as usual ever again," said Tilque.

"We're not going to be naturally busy for some time to come," said Flancer. "It's going to be many many months before we get to an even a more normalized."

Entrepreneurs are trying to survive until that 'normalized' becomes a reality.

"We can limp through this and get to better days," said Flancer.

Better days could mean weeks or months. Ultimately, Governor Ducey will make the call.

"I'd say that's why the governor gets the big bucks on this one," said Tilque.

The suggestions from the chambers have many things staying the same until June -- such as no visitors at any hospitals or nursing homes, as well as bars and schools staying closed for longer stretches.