Gov. Doug Ducey issued a highly qualified stay-at-home executive order for Arizona that goes into effect tomorrow (Tuesday, March 31) at close-of-business. “Arizonans are directed to limit their time away from home, except to conduct or participate in essential activities,” the order states. Essential activities include getting necessary supplies for home and family, including groceries, work-from-home equipment, and products necessary for safety and sanitation, and being outside. “Grocery stores and pharmacies are NOT closing,” it emphasizes.
All individuals in the state “shall limit time away from their place of residence” except to conduct essential activities, for employment, to volunteer or participate in essential functions, and other necessary functions, including taking care of family members or pets or seeking medical attention.
“We want people to stay home” and stay healthy, Ducey said during a press conference this afternoon. The order does not prohibit people being outside. Walking, hiking, biking and even golf are encouraged “but only if physical distancing practices are used,” the order states.
“The idea is to plan for a worst-case scenario,” Ducey said. He said he’s “listening to subject-matter experts,” including Cara Christ, director for the Arizona Department of Health Services, and that the decision was made with Arizona COVID-19 data in mind, he said.
Christ, in turn, cited a sustained increase in cases recent weeks and the percent of positive tests in the past week, which rose from 2% to around 6%, she said. “I believe now is the appropriate time to elevate our guidance,” Christ said.
The language regarding businesses is complex. The order says non-essential businesses “may continue to operate those activities that do not require in-person, on-site transactions.” The order does not prohibit “operating a single-owner business with no in-person, on-site public interactions, or restaurants and food services providing delivery or take-away services.” [See the order |See also the list of essential businesses (published on March 23)]
Ducey emphasized making social connections during this difficult time. “Call your mom,” he said. “Call your grandmother. That’s what I’m going to do.”