Gov. Doug Ducey explains new state restrictions to stop coronavirus spread

Mar 20, 2020, 1:30 PM | Updated: 7:45 pm

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday explained the new restrictions he announced the previous day to combat the spread of coronavirus.

The governor met with the media at the St. Mary’s Food Bank to speak on the executive orders he tweeted Thursday for the counties with positive COVID-19 cases.

“In combating the spread of COVID-19, it will require an all-hands-on-deck approach, and it will also require that we spare no effort while working with public health officials and leaders throughout the state to keep all Arizonans safe. That’s why yesterday we took additional actions to mitigate the spread fo this disease,” Ducey said.

On Thursday afternoon, Ducey ordered restaurants in counties with confirmed COVID-19 cases to provide takeout options only, while gyms, movie theaters and bars in those areas will shut down at close of business on Friday.

“These actions include halting all elective surgeries in our state to free up medical resources and increase hospital capacity for vital services, updating guidance for bars, restaurants and other businesses,” Ducey said.

In addition, the state is delaying the expiration date on driver’s licenses, so seniors don’t have to visit the MVD during a public health emergency, and is activating the National Guard to aid grocery stores and food banks.

“We recognize these are unprecedented times, access to food is critical,” Ducey said. “Normally it takes two trucks to restock a grocery store. In recent days with the run of essentials, it’s taking 12 trucks to restock a grocery store. This is a proactive measure to ensure that when you go to the store you’ll find food and essentials on the shelves.”

Ducey’s press conference comes on the same morning as state officials reported 19 new cases in the state, bringing the total to 63.

“We don’t have any illusions about this fight. We are in this for the long haul,” Ducey said. “I think it’s important for people to begin to think of this as a marathon and not a sprint. But the steps we have taken today and each day after will save lives and ensure that we come back stronger than ever. I’ve never been more confident.”

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