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Romero, 4 other mayors call Ducey to implement stricter protocols amid COVID-19 spike

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Mayor Regina Romero and four other mayors are calling for Gov. Doug Ducey to implement stricter protocols to combat COVID-19 amid the recent spike in Arizona.

On Thursday, Gov. Doug Ducey held a press conference to share his latest executive order to help lower the amount of COVID-19 cases in the state. Through this order, the governor order facilities offering dine-in services to limit its occupancy to less than 50 percent..

The governor also shared how the state will take steps in increasing the amount of COVID-19 tests administered in Arizona.

Shortly after the press conference concluded, Romero shared a letter her, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans, Tolleson Mayor Anna Tovar and Tempe Mayor Corey Woods crafted for the governor in regards to Arizona's efforts in combating the pandemic.

In that letter, the mayors advised Ducey to implement the policies across the state, including a statewide mask mandate, increasing testing capacity, contrat tracing and isolation options and encouraging Arizonans to stay home as much as possible.

"Today, Governor Ducey missed another opportunity to take decisive statewide action and save lives. He is the elected leader of our state and every day he waits, more people become infected and more lives are needlessly lost," Romero said in a Tweet. "Today's announcements are simply not good enough."

The letter in its entirety is listed below:

Dear Governor Ducey,

As Arizona mayors, we are deeply concerned about the current response to the COVID19 pandemic in our state. We appreciate you taking the difficult but necessary actions last week of closing certain venues that pose a high risk of community transmission.

While this was an important step, we believe additional actions are needed to slow the spread of COVID-19 and save lives.

Specifically, we are requesting that you take immediate action on the following:

• Mandate statewide mask-wearing in public settings: Our cities have already implemented our own requirements, however, statewide action is necessary as Arizonans travel between jurisdictions with and without requirements, undermining our local efforts.

• Increase testing capacity, contact tracing, and isolation options for positive cases: Arizonans should not have to wait in 8-hour lines in triple digit heat to get tested. For those individuals that do get tested, results are taking up to 9 days causing further uncertainty and preventable spread. In addition, nearly 1 in 4 tests are coming back positive, which is one of the highest positivity rates in the country. These factors combined suggest a severe lack of testing.

• Encourage Arizonans to stay at home as much as possible. We support
additional closures at the statewide level to slow the spread of the virus such as in-door dining, barbershops, hair & nail salons, and other venues with high potential for transmission. We would absolutely support you in these decisions that should be made at the statewide level.

In addition, any future actions to curb the spread of COVID-19 MUST provide statewide direction. While local data and conditions should be taken into account, COVID-19 does not stop at city or county limits, and we need statewide action to effectively combat this public health crisis. A decentralized approach to fighting this crisis has proven to be ineffective at both the federal and state levels for a virus that is not contained by jurisdictional boundaries. The absence of clear, statewide direction
creates inconsistencies and confusion for our constituents and our business community.

We also respectfully request that you re-establish a consistent line of communication with the offices of Arizona Mayors. We are on the frontlines of fighting this pandemic and can provide valuable insight on what is happening on the ground locally.

We are all eager to return to some sense of normalcy and support our businesses and their workers through this extraordinarily challenging time. The fact remains that our economy will not recover until we are able to slow the spread and rebuild consumer confidence. The longer we wait to act, the longer and more severe the blow to our economy will be, the longer it will take to safely send our children back to school, and
more lives will be needlessly lost.

Thank you for your attention to these critical matters.

Anthony Victor Reyes

Anthony Victor Reyes is the lead digital content producer at News 4 Tucson. The award-winning journalist previously worked as a community reporter in Jasper County, Iowa.

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