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US Census employees resume Arizona work following coronavirus hiatus

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya, File)

PHOENIX — Workers with the U.S. Census Bureau have resumed ground operations in Arizona after a halt for about two months due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are happy to be back in the field as of last week,” said Tammy Parise, partnership coordinator in Arizona for the U.S. Census Bureau.

Census workers began hand-delivering questionnaires on March 15 but stopped doing so a few days later due the coronavirus. Now, these operations have resumed.

Workers are dropping off questionnaire packets at the front door of households throughout the state that don’t receive mail at their address. This applies to an estimated 178,800 Arizona households, primarily in rural and tribal communities.

Parise said that even though staff members are not interacting with household residents when they drop off census materials, they are equipped with personal protective equipment.

“That includes gloves, masks and hand sanitizer,” she said. “And we are following state and local jurisdiction requirements for the use of that PPE.”

The final day to fill out 2020 census data is Oct. 31.

People can respond online, by phone or by mail using the Census ID number that was already mailed to them.

“Later this summer, if a household has not responded, we will be following up in person,” Parise said. “That’s currently planned for the first couple weeks in August.”

She added that responding to the census helps determine how federal and state resources are allocated, as well as how many congressional seats each state gets.

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