Ducey mobilizes National Guard, ends restaurant dining to contain coronavirus




Photo by Gage Skidmore | Flickr/CC BY-SA 2.0

In response to the coronavirus pandemic, Gov. Doug Ducey has mobilized the National Guard to assist grocery stores and food banks, and has ordered bars and restaurants to limit service to dine-out and delivery in counties where there are confirmed cases of the illness.

The governor issued executive orders late Thursday afternoon to implement the social distancing policies, which come in the wake of large cities – led by Phoenix and Tucson – deciding on their own to combat the spread of the coronavirus by sharply restricting restaurants and shutting down bars, fitness centers and other establishments.

“I’m issuing an Executive Order that requires restaurants in counties w/confirmed cases of #COVID19 to provide dine-out options only, & close bars, movie theaters and gyms,” Ducey announced on Twitter, referring to the illness that the coronavirus causes. “Restaurants will be allowed to deliver alcoholic beverages w/food purchase.”


Ducey had been criticized by city leaders and Sen. Kyrsten Sinema this week for not closing bars and restaurants amid the pandemic. 

Currently, only six counties have confirmed cases of the virus: Coconino, Graham, Maricopa, Navajo, Pima and Pinal. 

Ducey also said he is activating the National Guard to “ensure grocery stores have the manpower needed to keep shelves stocked.” 

The governor issued other executive orders including an order to halt all elective surgeries in the state in order to “free up medical resources and maintain the capacity for hospitals and providers to continue offering vital services.” 

Lastly, Ducey issued an executive order that delays expiration dates on Arizona driver’s licenses in an attempt to make sure that residents over the age of 65 do not need to go to the Arizona Motor Vehicle Division during the pandemic. 

“This is an all-in effort,” Ducey said on Twitter. “We remain focused in the state of Arizona on proactively limiting the spread of #COVID19 and will continue to protect public health.”

In all, state health officials say there are 44 positive cases of COVID-19 in Arizona, but no known deaths. Nationally, there are nearly 14,000 confirmed cases and 200 deaths.

How you can tell if you might have been impacted

Symptoms of coronavirus resemble that of the flu. So, if you’re experiencing coughing, fever, difficulty breathing, or shortness of breath, you should consider getting checked out. Call your primary care physician or visit an urgent care center or emergency room — but call the health care provider before you go so they can be prepared for your arrival. The Arizona Poison and Drug Information Center is taking COVID-19 calls: 1-844-542-8201

How the coronavirus spreads

  • Through the air by coughing or sneezing
  • Close personal contact, such as touching or shaking hands
  • Touching an object or surface with the virus on it

How to prevent spreading the coronavirus

  • Cover coughs or sneezes with your elbow. Don’t use your hands.
  • Wash hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.
  • Clean surfaces frequently, including counter tops, light switches, cell phones, remotes, and other frequently touched items.
  • Contain: if you are sick, stay home until you are feeling better.