“Stay home, Stay healthy, Stay connected” – that’s what the state is asking of fellow Arizonans in the continued effort to slow the spread of COVID-19. The latest Executive Order issued today by Governor Doug Ducey follows new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and comes at the recommendation of public health officials who are tracking data specific to Arizona. The Governor’s order promotes increased physical distancing, while encouraging social connectedness among citizens. It takes place at 5:00 p.m. tomorrow, March 31, 2020. “Keeping Arizonans safe and healthy as we slow the spread of COVID-19 remains our top priority,” said Governor Ducey. “Arizona citizens and businesses are already responsibly responding to this crisis. 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. I’m grateful to everyone making adjustments to fight this virus and protect others. Arizona will get through this, and we’ll do it together.” Under the Executive Order, Arizonans shall limit their time away from their place of residence or property, except:
To conduct or participate in essential activities, and/or;
For employment, to volunteer or participate in essential functions; or
To utilize any services or products provided by essential business services;
And for employment if as a sole proprietor or family owned business, work is conducted in a separate office space from your home and the business is not open to serve the public.
On March 23, Governor Ducey issued an Executive Order clarifying businesses and operations deemed “essential” and providing certainty to business owners, employees and families. Under today’s order, Arizonans are also encouraged to improve social connectedness by:
Maintaining ongoing connections and communication with current social supports and structures such as family, friends, neighbors and other social groups;
Educating fellow Arizonans on the negative health impacts of social isolation;
And developing habits and activities that increase resilience, such as physical activity, virtual social gatherings, assisting neighbors, implementing or participating in connection campaigns for at risk populations, and participating in volunteer activities.
Under this policy, essential activities include:
Obtaining necessary supplies and services for family, household members and pets, such as groceries, food and supplies for household consumption and use, supplies and equipment needed to work from home, assignments for completion of distance learning and products necessary to maintain safety, sanitation and essential maintenance of the home, residence.
Engaging in activities essential for health and safety, including things such as seeking medical, behavioral health or emergency services and obtaining medical supplies or medication.
Caring for a family member, friend, or pet in another household or residence, which includes but is not limited to transportation for essential health and safety activities and to obtain necessary supplies and services for the other household.
Engaging in outdoor exercise activities, such as walking, hiking, running, biking or golfing, but only if appropriate physical distancing practices are used.
Attending work in or conducting essential services which includes but is not limited to transporting children to child care services for attending work in an essential service.
Engaging in constitutionally protected activities such as speech and religion, the democratic process to include voting any legal or court process provided that such is conducted in a manner that provides appropriate physical distancing to the extent feasible.
Already, Arizona has taken proactive steps to slow the spread of COVID-19. On March 11, Governor Ducey issued a declaration of a Public Health State of Emergency to prepare for, prevent, respond to, and mitigate the spread of the disease. On March 15, a statewide school closure was issued in coordination with Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman. Today, it was extended through the end of the school year, following CDC guidance. Many businesses have already greatly reduced their hours and operations as directed by health officials and in an effort to protect the public health and slow the spread of COVID-19. On March 17th, following updated guidance from the CDC, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) issued updated guidance that included canceling or postponing gatherings of 10 or more people, recommending telework and other alternatives, restricting access to nursing homes, retirement homes and long-term care facilities to provide critical assistance, and providing recommendations to restaurants and eating establishments to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 transmission. On March 19th, Governor Ducey required restaurants in Arizona counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases to provide dine-out options only and required all bars, gyms and movie theaters in those counties to close. That same day, Governor Duey halted all elective surgeries in the state of Arizona to free up medical resources and maintain the capacity for hospitals and providers to continue offering vital services. View a full list of actions HERE. Last week, Governor Ducey launched the Arizona Together initiative to support Arizonans during the COVID-19 outbreak, connecting individuals and businesses to resources, raising money for community organizations and providing information on volunteer opportunities. The website, ArizonaTogether.org, also features tools for mental health support for individuals and families facing changes and stress as a result of COVID-19. View the Executive Order encouraging Arizonans to stay home, stay healthy and stay connected HERE. View daily Arizona COVID-19 updates from ADHS HERE.