PHOENIX (3TV/CBS 5) - Gov. Doug Ducey made some major moves on Thursday under growing pressure from other elected officials to take more aggressive action combat the spread of the coronavirus in Arizona.
Most notably, Ducey activated the National Guard to help out grocery stores and food banks with high demand. The Arizona National Guard released the following statement Thursday night:
The Arizona National Guard is proud to support the governor’s robust, integrated action plan to serve local communities in light of the spread of COVID-19 virus. Our Guard members take this mission seriously as they are from the cities and towns we are about to serve. Domestic response is part of what we do as we’ve demonstrated in emergencies such as airport security after 9/11, Monument Fire in 2011, Havasupai Floods in 2018 and Hurricane Harvey in 2017. We will communicate frequently as we define our requirements to support the logistical supply chain system.
Ducey also issued an executive order that stops all elective surgeries in the state to "free up medical resources and maintain the capacity for hospitals." The order also requires restaurants in counties with a confirmed case of the coronavirus to provide only dine-out options, closes bars, movie theaters and gyms. Restaurants will also be allowed to deliver alcohol to customers with a food purchase. Also, part of Ducey's order was delaying expiration dates on Arizona driver's licenses.
I’m announcing new steps to combat the spread of #COVID19. These actions are based on the facts and on data, and come after careful consultation with public health experts from every county in Arizona, our hospitals, local elected officials, and private sector partners. 1/— Doug Ducey (@dougducey) March 19, 2020
According to health officials, Coconino, Graham, Maricopa, Navajo, Pima, Pinal, Santa Cruz and Yavapai counties have positive cases of coronavirus.
Ducey's announcement received praise from officials in Phoenix. Councilman Sal DiCiccio said it was the "right approach" and added it didn't make sense for Phoenix to take steps without working together with other cities, counties and the state government.
. @dougducey did the right thing. Said all along that Phoenix taking steps without working together with the rest of the cities, counties and state government wasn't going to work. This is the right approach - straightforward for everyone, no confusion, no cross border spread https://t.co/xM3l9sHNk2— Sal DiCiccio (@Sal_DiCiccio) March 20, 2020
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said on Twitter that she is glad to see Ducey take these actions. "Cities led but now we can work collaboratively to #StopTheSpread," she said in a tweet.
Democratic Sen. Kysten Sinema had urged Ducey to take action before and was happy he took action on Thursday. However, she said the executive order should apply throughout Arizona, not just the counties affected.
Turns out, Arizona - today IS the day!!Thank you to every city & county government that demonstrated leadership to take action and save lives. This order should apply throughout Arizona - social distancing is how you slow/stop the spread of the coronavirus. Let’s do it ASAP https://t.co/HqhWXr8QGi— Kyrsten Sinema (@SenatorSinema) March 20, 2020
As of March 19, there are 45 reported cases of coronavirus in Arizona, officials said. There have been 330 people tested, with 175 tests ruled out and 130 tests still pending.