Arizona cities, towns work to comply with large public events order

Dec 10, 2020, 4:35 AM | Updated: 7:43 am
Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey arrives for a news conference to talk about the latest Arizona C...
Arizona Republican Gov. Doug Ducey arrives for a news conference to talk about the latest Arizona COVID-19 information Wednesday, Dec. 2, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)
(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Cities and towns across Arizona are responding to Gov. Doug Ducey’s recent executive order aimed at reducing the spread of the coronavirus at large public events.

The order requires public events of more than 50 people to have COVID-19 safety protocols in place and to have city or town approval.

Most cities and towns already have an application process in place and are making changes. They created them in response to a similar executive order the governor announced in June.

Tempe’s Special Events Task Force developed the COVID-19 criteria for its application process the city rolled out in June.

“We have face-covering requirements,” Melissa Quillard, public information officer for the city of Tempe, told KTAR News 92.3 FM. “We require hand washing and sanitizing stations. Cleaning protocols must be outlined in the application.”

Applicants looking to hold an event on public property in Tempe must also develop a plan for how attendees will be able to practice social distancing and how staff will manage attendees who aren’t following that plan.

Additionally, a plan must be developed for how they’re going to screen attendees who are showing COVID-19 symptoms.

“Something that’s new that we’ve just added is we do require a dedicated staff person now whose sole job is to make sure that all of the protocols are being implemented and being followed and to enforce them if they’re not,” Quillard said.

She added event capacity is determined on a case-by-case basis.

Since June, the city’s Special Events Task Force has approved 35 applications for events. The only application that has been denied due to COVID-19 concerns was from organizers of Ironman Arizona’s full triathlon, which was scheduled for Nov. 22.

Under the governor’s executive order released last week, cities and towns must publicly post the COVID-19 mitigation measures that the event organizers are required to implement and enforce. They must also dedicate “reasonably adequate resources” to enforce those measures.

Like Tempe, Phoenix also already has an application process in place for people looking to host a public event of more than 50 people. Applicants are required to detail COVID-19 practices and procedures they’ll follow.

“Private events or events not open to the public and hosted on private property no longer require the city’s approval no matter how large they are,” the city of Phoenix clarifies on its website.

Mesa also created an application process in response to Ducey’s executive order in June. A spokesman told KTAR News 92.3 FM that the city is in the process of updating its application process following the governor’s most recent executive order. For now, event organizers are still required to complete the current forms.

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Arizona cities, towns work to comply with large public events order