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Tucson implements nightly curfew in attempt to mitigate virus spread

(Facebook Photo/City of Tucson)

PHOENIX – The Tucson City Council voted Tuesday night to implement a three-week citywide curfew in an effort to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

The council unanimously passed a curfew that will take effect Friday night, which will allow businesses an opportunity to use up perishable inventory and make staffing adjustments.

The curfew will last from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. until Dec. 23.

Democratic Mayor Regina Romero said she sought the curfew “for the safety and welfare and health of the citizens of Tucson.”

It prohibits residents from being on public streets or spaces unless traveling to work or other essential activities.

Exempt from the curfew are public safety personnel, health-care professionals, essential workers and the homeless.

Romero said earlier this week that it’s critical to act swiftly to avoid more punishing mandates down the road, such as business closures or a “shelter in place” order.

Last week, Pima County implemented a voluntary 10 p.m. curfew to discourage people from going to parties, bars and other social settings that are risky for the spread of the coronavirus.

Arizona, along with most of the rest of the country, has since September seen hospitals fill up as the coronavirus spreads with new ferocity.

The top doctor at Banner Health, Arizona’s largest hospital chain, said last week that forecasts showed its medical centers would exceed 125% of their licensed capacity on Friday.

On Tuesday, Arizona health officials reported 10,322 new coronavirus cases and 48 additional deaths, bringing the state’s documented totals to 337,139 COVID-19 infections and 6,687 fatalities.

The abnormally high daily case total was attributed to delays in the process of reviewing and reporting results by local health officials over Thanksgiving weekend.

However, key coronavirus metrics have been rising across Arizona since the beginning of October.

Pima County has just over 40,000 coronavirus cases and 695 deaths, according to state health data.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

For Arizona vaccine information, visit azdhs.gov/findvaccine.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

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