Phoenix, Tucson Mayors Declare State Of Emergency, Shut Down Restaurant Dine-In

Published: Tuesday, March 17, 2020 - 1:47pm
Updated: Wednesday, March 18, 2020 - 12:04pm
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Matthew Casey/KJZZ
Kate Gallego
Regina Romero
Regina Romero
Coral Evans
Coral Evans.

Bars will be shutting down and restaurants switching to delivery, take-out and drive-thru only in Phoenix and Tucson starting Tuesday night. This comes after Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and Tucson Mayor Regina Romero declared a state of emergency in response to the coronavirus.

Gallego and Romero’s declaration forced the closure of bars and restaurants to dine-in guests effective 8 p.m. Tuesday. There is currently no end date in place. In the meantime, Gallego said residents should practice social distancing and anticipate additional announcements from the city in the days to come.

The order does not affect delivery, take-out or drive-through options.

Flagstaff was the first city in the state to put such limitations in place this week, despite having no reported cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the coronavirus. Mayor Coral Evans told “The Show” on Tuesday that she implemented the restrictions Monday night after Sen. Kyrsten Sinema held a call with mayors across the state. 

Mesa also declared a state of emergency Tuesday following the announcements out of Phoenix and Tucson, and the Tempe City Council is expected to vote on a similar measure this week.

Gov. Doug Ducey has so far not called for statewide closures. He has issued guidance recommending fewer dine-in options or social distancing in cases where dine-in service is still provided.

But Gallego said the governor should enact statewide restrictions for a more uniform response from city to city.

“I have proposed more significant restrictions than the governor has enacted. I would prefer that we have these restrictions across the state of Arizona,” she said. “I believe that many governors have made the responsible decision to close non-essential businesses in their communities.”

Gallego said she does not want to restrict business in Phoenix, but health care workers told her more needed to be done if they’re going to have a fighting chance against the spread of the coronavirus.

“They are already ordering tents to treat people in parking lots,” she said. “We do not have enough beds or ventilators in Phoenix to treat the people who are coming. People are not taking this as seriously as we would like to see.”

KJZZ's The Show spoke with Evans and Gallego about their decisions.

For more on the impact these measures will have on bars and restaurants, The Show also talked to Steve Chucri, a Maricopa County supervisor and president of the Arizona Restaurant Association.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The story has been update to better reflect when the Tempe City Council is expected to vote on restaurant limitations.

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