Arizona mayors condemn Ducey’s edict keeping golf courses open

PHOENIX (AP) – City leaders on Tuesday criticized Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey for his decision to classify certain businesses such as golf courses as “essential” over the course of the Coronavirus pandemic.

The mayors of five different cities, including Tucson and Flagstaff, sent Republican Gov. Doug Ducey a letter saying his executive order should not have included golf courses and payday lenders in the definition of “essential services” that it does not. cannot be closed in response to the outbreak. They also called for a statewide moratorium on evictions and foreclosures.

Ducey accepted suspend evictions for 120 days for tenants who are in quarantine or fighting the economic fallout. To be eligible, tenants must provide documentation proving that they have been quarantined, have a medical condition that makes them vulnerable, or have suffered a substantial loss of income. They will also have to acknowledge in writing that the conditions of their lease have not changed.

On Monday, Ducey presented a long list of essential services that cities and counties are prohibited from shutting down. His action came after the mayors took the initiative to close bars and gymnasiums and ban catering services in restaurants.

AFTER: Coronavirus in Arizona: latest numbers of cases

Patrick Ptak, spokesperson for Ducey, dodged questions about why the list includes the state’s estimated 300 golf courses. “This ordinance aims to protect public health and preserve essential financial lifelines for many communities in our state,” he said in an email.

Ducey was initially criticized by Democrats, including the US Senator. Kyrsten Sinema, for having ordered only the closure of schools but seeming to drag its feet on businesses. The governor then passed his own restrictions on businesses in all counties with confirmed cases of COVID-19.

The mayors of Tucson, Flagstaff, Tolleson, Somerton and Winslow have called for “clear and direct guidance” on shutting down non-essential services and asked for “assurance that no Arizonan loses their home due to economic hardship imposed by COVID-19 “.

“We recognize that these are painful decisions with serious economic repercussions, but immediate action will save lives,” the mayors wrote.

Mayor of Phoenix Kate gallego said Ducey’s order gives the governor exclusive power over closures and prevents cities from putting limits on overcrowded parks, golf courses and beauty salons.

While golf courses are open, national parks are not. National Forests in northern and eastern Arizona and outside the Phoenix metro area this week announced the closure of picnic areas, day-use areas and serviced campgrounds. Some had already suspended the rental of cabins. Grand Canyon National Park has suspended private, business and research travel on the Colorado River from Tuesday through May.

LIVE: Coronavirus case data and interactive map

Arizona had at least 326 confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Tuesday, according to the State Department of Health Services. That’s a jump of nearly 100 from the previous day.

A sixth death has also been reported – a Coconino County man in his 50s with an underlying health problem.

Of the five previous deaths, no details have been given by health authorities on the last three. The other two were already men over 50 with underlying health issues.

Navajo Nation officials announced the discovery of 10 more cases, bringing the total to 49 with most in Arizona and a few in New Mexico. The tribe also instituted a “stay at home” order and asked non-essential businesses to temporarily shut down.

Northern Arizona University announced on Tuesday that it was canceling its spring opening ceremonies. School officials are inviting all May graduates – nearly 6,000 of them – to a special ceremony on December 12.

As concern over resources for a growing number of patients grows, Maricopa County Sheriff Paul Penzone on Tuesday suggested renovating a new Phoenix jail as a temporary medical clinic for the community if the beds of hospital are becoming scarce. The 1,500-bed prison has yet to open.

For most people, COVID-19 causes only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough. For some, the elderly and people with health problems, it can cause more serious illnesses, including pneumonia.

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To protect yourself from possible infection, the CDC recommends:

Avoid close contact with sick people.

Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

Stay home when you are sick.

Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.

Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the toilet; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing or sneezing.

Associated Press editors Jacques Billeaud in Phoenix and Felicia Fonseca in Flagstaff, Arizona, contributed to this report.

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