Photo by Joycelyn Cabrera

Mayor Christian Price declared a state of emergency Friday afternoon in an effort to mitigate the impact of the novel coronavirus COVID-19 that has killed one Arizonan and infected dozens more.

Backed by four members of Maricopa City Council, Price said he understands the frustration caused by misinformation about the virus and the government response to it.

“One of the things you can’t know is how the actual the recommendations will come down and affect you in that very moment,” he said. “One of those things we’ve been dealing with is what does this look like on the ground for Maricopa.”

The City gradually reduced, canceled or closed programs and buildings. Copper Sky, City Hall and the library have all been closed. Price said he’s heard from many residents, some saying the City was overreacting and others saying the City hasn’t gone far enough.

Councilmember Rich Vitiello said most of the people he talked to at Copper Sky were not happy with the closure of the recreational facility.

The proclamation authorizes the mayor or City Manager Rick Horst to close the City’s public buildings, limit hours,cancel or postpone City events among other things. The city manager can also “obtain financial and other forms of aid, relief and assistance from federal, state and county authorities.”

The declaration reiterates Gov. Doug Ducey’s order closing all bars, movie theaters and gyms and limiting restaurants to drive-through, curbside pickup or delivery.

Price said the emergency declaration was due now because the city has crossed from state recommendation to mandate and the City wanted to do so in a “fast and orderly fashion.”

Afterward, Price, a financial advisor, said though COVID-19 is causing a financial crisis across the country with layoffs and closures, residents could look for the opportunities arising – besides the opportunity to spend more time with their families. Just as the great recession created a new reality, he said, the fallout from the virus impact could lead to an entrepreneurial revival.

“A lot of benefit could come from it as well,” he said.

Current recommendations of the CDC, the Arizona Department of Health Services and the Pinal County Health Department:

  1. Use social distancing and avoid groups of ten or more people; and
  2. Avoid contact with those with elevated risks associated with COVID-19; and
  3. Stay home and contact your medical provider if you or others in your household feel sick; and
  4. Stay home and away from other people if you are an older person or you have a serious underlying condition that can put you at increased risk, for example, a condition that impairs your lung or heart function or weakens your immune system; and
  5. Practice good personal hygiene, such as regularly washing your hands, avoid touching your face, sneezing into a tissue or the inside of your elbow, and frequently disinfecting.

Horst said he has navigated around 40 states of emergency, between California earthquakes and Florida hurricanes, in his previous work.

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