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Sinema says ‘finally’ after Ducey narrows down essential services list

(AP Photo/Ramon Espinosa)

PHOENIX — After weeks of calling on Arizona’s governor to narrow the list of essential services during the coronavirus outbreak, U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema was pleased to see action taken Friday.

Sinema told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Chad and Gaydos that she was relieved Gov. Doug Ducey made the decision to exclude businesses such as salons and barbers that were initially considered essential in an executive order issued March 23.

“Finally. As you guys know, I’ve been calling for this for three weeks,” Sinema said. “When the CDC came out with the guidelines to stay at least six feet away from each other and not gathering in groups of more than 10 people, it was time to do it then.”

Sinema, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and others called on Ducey to revise the list because they believed services included in the initial order weren’t appropriate to stay open during a pandemic.

The essential services list went into effect Tuesday at 5 p.m. when Ducey’s “stay-at-home” order went into effect.

In addition to salons and barbers, tanning salons, tattoo parlors, spas and massage parlors will also have to shut down.

Amenities at public parks that don’t allow for proper physical distancing, communal pools and swap meets will also close.

All businesses and services included in Ducey’s Friday guidance have to close their doors by 5 p.m. on Saturday.

“Now we can keep those employees safe and the people they service safe,” Sinema said. “It’s hard to say to someone you’ve got to close down your business for the time being.

“But when we remember we’re doing it to save lives, then I think more folks will understand how important it is that we take this action.”

Ducey’s additional guidance came after he was pressed multiple times during Thursday night’s virtual town hall by moderators and through questions submitted by citizens for clarity on the issue, because it generally had been assumed that such services were considered “essential” under his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” executive order that went into effect Tuesday.

“What I said is we focused on shutting down as much as we could of these issues to slow that spread,” he said, adding that “those services are not covered under the order.”

Sinema said she had heard from several business owners who were afraid to close their doors over fears of financial loss since they weren’t eligible to received financial support from the state.

Those business owners will now be able to apply for financial relief since they are no longer considered essential during the pandemic.

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