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Governor’s Office: State to mirror Trump’s plan, not ready to reopen

President Donald Trump listens as Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Thursday, April 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

President Donald Trump listens as Dr. Deborah Birx, White House coronavirus response coordinator, speaks about the coronavirus in the James Brady Press Briefing Room of the White House, Thursday, April 16, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

The Governor’s Office told Arizona mayors Monday the state will essentially mirror President Trump’s plan to reopen the economy in phases, but that it’s not yet ready to take the first step.

Gov. Doug Ducey’s policy advisor Ben Blink said that on a morning conference call, one of several the office has had with mayors over the last month, and gave them the closest thing to an insight of how the office is considering a phased reopening. The announcement comes after Ducey said last week it was up to him, not Trump, when the state reopens.

When asked by Winslow Mayor Thomas McCauley what criteria Ducey would be looking for, Blink said the state will be using “basically the same” criteria in Trump’s plan. The state, Blink said, will be looking for downward trajectories in influenza-like illnesses and COVID-like illnesses.

“We want to make sure we’ve got the data we need that’s robust enough in Arizona before making those types of decisions,” Blink said.

Trump released his three-phase plan April 16, a set of skeletal guidelines for states that see fewer reports of COVID-19 and influenza-like illnesses for two weeks. The idea is to slowly open up businesses to normal operations while slowly reeling back social distancing measures.

“Right now, we do not consider ourselves to be in Phase One, mainly because we haven’t hit some of the key metrics that the White House is looking for to enter that phase,” Blink said. “I think we’re still waiting for that downward trajectory. We’re still waiting on that 14-day trajectory to be able to do that.”

Blink said the state will continue to rely on that public health data and that “more guidance is needed” for businesses that could reopen in that phase before they start that process.

Under Phase One of Trump’s plan, all “vulnerable individuals” would stay home when they can and those who do go out would continue to practice social distancing and avoid gatherings of 10 or more people, while some businesses would reopen with social distancing measures in place. Schools and bars would remain closed, visits to senior living facilities would be prohibited, however gyms, movie theaters, sporting venues and large venues could open if they allow for physical distancing and properly sanitized surfaces.

Ducey said last week he is fielding input from business leaders on what changes they would need in order to properly function and suggestions for what a phased reopening would look like in Arizona. His stay-at-home order is set to expire April 30 and he said last week he would do what’s best for Arizona, which could mean further extending the order if necessary.

Ducey spokesman Patrick Ptak said the Governor’s Office is continuing to consider its options as that day approaches. 

Ptak said as April 30 nears, the state is considering three options.

“We can let the order expire, [or] we can extend it as is, or we can extend it with changes and modifications that reflect Arizona’s improving situation on the ground,” Ptak said in a text message. “The decision will be based on the data over the next week as well as the guidance and recommendations of public health officials.”

Ptak would not say which of those options is most probable, only saying it will be a “data-driven decision,” data which the state will track over “the next week or so.”

21 comments

  1. Clarence J Packwood

    Will the native american owned/operated casinos follow the state mandated guidelines? These are sovereign nations and confused as to how they base their decisions for keeping the casinos closed or reopening? The various tribes are very dependent on revenue derived from these casinos.

  2. It is good to see examples of our leadership using knowledge and data to make informed policy decisions.

  3. I live in a private gated community of 400 units with 5 pools. We have a pool service that keeps our pools clean with the proper chemicals. Many people are snow birds and have left. Our pools are closed and we are approaching 100 degrees. We never have more than 20 in the pool if that many. Most of us are elderly and the pool becomes one form of exercise that we can do. We need our pool open!!!

  4. Really unhappy with continued delays. We know no one, with 1 exception, who even knows someone who had it. And that one case was a 79 year old woman WITH PNEUMONIA who survived at home. Her daughter living with her also recovered. Everyone else we know is healthy. The economic damage will be severe the longer this keeps up.

  5. Love how there is no mention of testing. We’re still dead last among the states for testing. Expanded testing is also part of the first phase, lest everyone forget that. And for the woman whining about the pool – deal with it. Your world will not end if you can’t get into your community pool for another month or two.

  6. Please reopen counties that have lower numbers. The whole state does not have to be shut down. The growth is not exponential in Yavai county. have an auto immune disease, I and others who are marginalized can stay home.

    We live in the land of the Free and home of the Brave.

  7. I live in Cottonwood, Arizona. Our area and surrounding cities have not had marked virus outbreak. Franchises are booming (Home Depot, Safeway, Walmart, Circle K and all drive thrus) but some ma and pa businesses will be hard pressed to be able to recover with two months of no revenue. My husband and I are over 65 and wear masks when we are out. I think the responsible government act would be to require masks of some sort for awhile and allow rural towns to move forward. Thank you.

  8. If ducey wants to be re-elected he will open up May first – – – the majority are sick of this nonsense

  9. Please let our bar and restaurant workers get back to work. This is insane. The fear mongering needs to stop. I work in fine dining where most of us earn a really nice living. We are on the verge of losing our homes, cars and credit. What else can we do to make the money we make??? Been outta work for two months and still haven’t seen an unemployment payment. Can’t even get a hold of them. WHAT DO WE DO???? Wake up state officials!!!! We’re not even close to matching our average common flu deaths. Stop the insanity.

  10. Arizona has not even hit our peak yet! Go exercise in your back yard. Your threats not to re-elect don’t worry you may not be here to vote . Wake up. And put your mask on. Come on people get it together you may be old but use your experience! Let the Doctors and the science tell us what is best!

  11. There needs to be a a reopen . This is not the same for everyone . I’m tired if people yelling at people who want to reopen . You have no idea what’s going on in other people’s lives .

  12. I do not want to die so you can go to the gym. get drunk and not think of others!
    I made it through 39 months in combat to die from this!

  13. Ducey is not eligible for re-election due to term limits in Arizona.

    That said, open up this state. If this goes on much longer, the cure will definitely be worse than the disease.

  14. Arizonans don’t put up with their rights being taken away. Stand up and end this nonsense.

  15. We are a small community with about a 100 residents and a pool which is well maintained but currently closed due to the governors ill thought out restrictions.

    I am sure that Gov Ducey and all his rich friends are able to swim in their private pools. Good for them!

    The rest of us are suffering. Many elderly cannot walk for exercise due to the high temperatures. It will be over a 100 for at least the next 7 days. This is AZ; not NY. Is the governor planning to post a separate death count for heat deaths?

    Prior to this absurd order, all our residents were practicing social distancing while using the pool. I know because I live next to the pool. Let’s show some compassion and use some common sense. Amend the current pool closings with a order restricting pool use to 10 residents at a time and requiring social distancing. Give us some credit for being able to take responsibility for our own heath.

  16. Multiple Covid-19 antibody testing studies rolling out recently from experts suggest that the “actual” fatality rate is similar to the flu (0.1%-0.2%, NOT 3.5%-5.0%!). This is based on study results showing that actual asymptomatic infection rates are 50-85 times higher than the number of positive test results previously reported. Those calling for testing “everyone” apparently don’t understand how statistical sampling works and how it can be used.

    Using a sledge hammer approach resulting in shutting down the economy when there was initially no reliable data was prudent. No argument with the initial approach that was based on incomplete and inaccurate (to be kind) data from China and others. Now that there is statistically reliable data on infection rates, it’s time to use a surgical scalpel to develop policies intelligently rather than continuing overreaching blunt-force shutdowns for a virus with flu-like fatality rates. Start to open it up smartly Ducey.

  17. Arizona has a population of approximately 7,380,000. So far the entire state has reported 6,045 confirmed coronavirus cases, which is eight one-hundredths of one percent of the population, and 266 coronavirus-related deaths, which is less than four one-thousandths of one percent of the population. Shutting down businesses in the entire state due to miniscule numbers like these is nothing but a hysterical, media-driven overreaction. It’s past time for Governor Ducey to conquer his political fear and demonstrate some common sense!

  18. Open up the state. Open up the country.

  19. Please open up our state and let us use common sense and respect for others to get our economy moving again. Those who are afraid or at risk, stay at home.

  20. When you don’t have family members or friends that have gone through this deadly disease, it is very easy to fight for reopening. I hope non of you experience this. What is wrong in waiting for a downward trajectory before reopening? I have am a small business owner and know how hard this is on a lot of people but I will rather want my family and children safe.

  21. It’s human nature to only react to what you know in your own world the facts are clear 70k people have died in 80 days. There is no comparison in America that comes close people tout the flu that’s over an entire year. Lets not wait until every one has a family member who is sick or dead to react, and let the experts figure out when it’s safe.

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