Late yesterday, June 17, 2020, Governor Ducey announced that Arizona is seeing a significant increase in COVID-19 infection and hospitalization rates, and therefore issued a new Executive Order intended to address this growing public health emergency.
Several months ago, on March 17, 2020, with the full support of the Paradise Valley Town Council, I issued an emergency proclamation relating to COVID-19. That proclamation stated that the Town of Paradise Valley would follow the recommendations of the federal Centers for Disease Control and other highly regarded health experts regarding COVID-19. Shortly after I issued the emergency proclamation, the State of Arizona took control of most matters related to COVID-19 through the Governor’s executive orders, including the “stay at home” order issued in March.
As of yesterday, Governor Ducey has specifically encouraged and authorized cities and towns to take further action to safeguard public health and mitigate the spread of COVID-19 by the use of “best practices” regarding face masks.
Consistent with Governor Ducey’s Executive Order and my Emergency Proclamation, it is clear that the CDC guidelines relied upon in my emergency proclamation from March 2020 state that face masks or coverings should worn in public settings, especially in light of the elevated cases, hospitalizations, and spread of COVID-19 reported by the Arizona Department of Health Services. This expert guidance is also supported by the broad consensus of the Arizona medical community.
As your Mayor, my first priority is to take all reasonable steps to protect the health and safety of everyone living in, working in, or visiting the Town of Paradise Valley. I know that each of my colleagues joins me in wanting the best outcomes for everyone, and also value personal liberties and freedoms. The Town Council has been totally unified on these matters, having unanimously put into place smart and best practices to allow our public meetings to continue, but with minimal risk to those participating. It is likewise not a surprise to me to see how willing so many in our community have been to take small – but very impactful – steps, like wearing a mask when around others, to slow the spread of COVID-19, and I know that will continue. I have spoken with each of my Council colleagues and I am thankful for the support and encouragement of the Council to continue to promote the instructions of health experts through my Emergency Declaration as the health situation evolves.
Unlike denser urban cities, Paradise Valley does not have extensive public facilities and gathering places such as grocery stores or night clubs where large groups of people are congregating. And, most of the places where large numbers of people might be at the same time — specifically resorts — are private businesses. The Governor’s Executive Order requires all businesses to enact their own public health and safety plans to minimize the spread of COVID-19. The Town of Paradise Valley has been and will continue to work closely with them and provide them support, and we have reached out to partner agencies with responsibility for public health for their assistance in guiding our local businesses as they fine tune their policies in light of the latest public health instructions. This will be an area of the Governor’s Executive Order that we focus on at this time.
Again, it is critical that everyone does their part to slow the spread of COVID-19. Wearing a face mask while around others and without sufficient physical distancing – especially indoors or in other more crowded environments – is unequivocally directed by the health experts and should be respected and followed by all for the benefit of everyone in our Town and our State. Thanks again for your willingness to do your part to “mask up” and follow other relevant health instructions from the experts – physical distancing, limiting in-person social gatherings, and using best hygiene practices like frequent hand washing – as we navigate and get through COVID-19 together!