The Tempe City Council on Wednesday approved a state of emergency, granting Mayor Mark Mitchell extraordinary powers to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
The emergency declaration gives Mitchell the authority to “issue proclamations to preserve health and peace during this emergency.” That could include measures like imposing curfews, ordering businesses to close, and calling on outside law enforcement agencies to aid Tempe.
But unlike his contemporaries in Tucson and Phoenix, Mitchell did not take the step of ordering restaurants to close their dining rooms and shift to dine-in or takeout business models. The Tempe mayor cited state guidelines for his decision.
“However, per the current guidelines issued by the Arizona Department of Health Services, I am highly encouraging residents to avoid dining in any establishments at this time,” Mitchell added. “I would also advise that you stay home as much as possible and try to physically distance yourself from others if you do have to go out.”
As of Wednesday, there were 27 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Arizona.
Soon after Tempe’s declaration, Scottsdale Mayor W.J. “Jim” Lane issued a declaration of emergency that also doesn’t include closing bars or restaurants, for now.
“The city is taking every appropriate action to check the spread of this virus, and we need each citizen to do their part as well – practice social distancing, avoid gatherings, and stay away from others when you are sick,” Lane said in a statement. “We may have a difficult road ahead, but I am confident that the actions we have taken to date are helping, and we are poised and ready to take any additional steps that may be needed.”