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Ducey order lists 'essential services' during CV-19 pandemic

Governor limits authority of counties, cities to close businesses over coronavirus

Healthcare, pharmacies, utilities and Internet services, grocery stores and gas stations, the press, banks and hardware stores and more are listed as "essential services" during the coronavirus outbreak, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered Monday.

Under Ducey's order, counties and municipalities cannot restrict services announced as essential more than state authorities determine. The order also precludes school districts — currently closed under orders from Ducey and state schools chief Kathy Hoffman — from closing except under a state determination.

While the order can be read as a list of businesses that will likely not be ordered to close should Ducey proclaim further restrictions, such as a "shelter in place" or "stay at home" order as has been seen in other states affected by the coronavirus, Monday's executive order does not close any businesses not already affected by last week's proclamation.

Some jurisdictions have shuttered hair salons and barbers because of the outbreak; the Republican governor's order that "personal hygiene services" are included as essential will override those closures.

Also included on Ducey's list are restaurants doing take-out/delivery business, meaning counties and cities will be unable to reach an independent decision to end retail sales of prepared food.

The executive order outlines "essential services" as including:

  • Health care and public health operations, including hospitals, public health entities, distributors of personal protective equipment and biotechnology companies;
  • Human services operations, including those that provide services for the elderly, those with developmental disabilities, foster and adoption children and the homeless;
  • Infrastructure operations, including food production, utility operators, construction and internet providers;
  • Government functions, including first responders, emergency management personnel, 911 operators, child protection staff, welfare providers and more;
  • Business operations, including grocery and medicine providers, outdoor recreation;
  • Organizations that provide charitable and social services, including religious and secular non-profit organizations and food banks;
  • Media organizations, including newspaper, television, radio and other media services;
  • Gas stations and other transportation-related businesses, such as mechanics and bike shops;
  • Financial institutions, including banks and credit unions;
  • Hardware and supply stores;
  • Critical trades, including plumbers, electricians, cleaning, sanitation, HVAC and security staff;
  • Mail, post, shipping and logistics;
  • Education institutions, including public and private K-12 schools, universities and research entities;
  • Laundry services;
  • Restaurants for consumption off-premises;
  • Supplies distributors that enable telework and work from home and those that supply essential businesses;
  • Transportation, including airlines, taxis, and ride-sharing;
  • Home-based and care services, including for seniors and those with developmental disabilities;
  • Residential facilities and shelters, including those for children, seniors or at-risk populations;
  • Professional services, including legal, real estate and accounting services;
  • Day care centers for employees exempted though the order;
  • Manufacturers, distribution and producers of supply chain-critical products;
  • Hotels and motels;
  • And funeral services.

The order allows individuals and entities to utilize teleworking to complete essential services.

Also included as "essential" under Ducey's order are: grocery stores and liquor stores, gun stores, taxis and Uber/Lyft drivers, day care for employees of essential service businesses, building trades and maintenance workers, golf courses and outdoor recreation such as parks, and funeral-related businesses.

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"Arizona is focused on limiting the spread of COVID-19, while providing relief to families, individuals and businesses impacted," said Ducey in a news release. "This proactive order will ensure the state has one consistent, overarching policy that is based on CDC and public health guidance — allowing business owners and workers to responsibly plan ahead. We will continue to proceed with a calm and steady approach and act with urgency, while providing certainty whenever possible."

The head of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce echoed Ducey's language in praising the move.

"Arizona's workforce and its job creators thank Gov. Ducey for taking this proactive step to establish a clear, statewide policy on 'essential' services and operations," Chamber CEO Glenn Hamer said in a separate press release, sent an hour after the governor's announcement. "With this policy in place, businesses and workers alike can proceed with assurance that they won't have to navigate a patchwork of policies across the state."

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Paul Ingram/TucsonSentinel.com

Ducey during a Tuesday press conference in Tucson, March 17.