Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Authorities in Arizona, US, to ease certain COVID-19-related restrictions starting May 16.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Phoenix, Arizona
  • Tucson, Arizona
  • Flagstaff, Arizona
  • Lake Havasu City, Arizona
  • Yuma, Arizona
  • Bullhead City, Arizona
  • Prescott, Arizona
  • Show Low, Arizona
  • Fort Huachuca,Arizona
  • Mesa, Arizona
  • Sedona, Arizona

This alert began 14 May 2020 22:21 GMT and is scheduled to expire 25 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Arizona (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has issued an executive order easing movement and business restrictions starting May 16 as part of the state's coronavirus disease (COVID-19) recovery plan. The new directive will enable additional businesses, such as movie theaters and professional sports teams, to resume operations. During three earlier recovery that which started on May 8, 11, and 13, respectively, Arizona permitted a variety of other establishments to reopen, including retail stores, personal care businesses (barbershops and hair salons), dine-in services at restaurants and cafes, and fitness centers. Essential businesses and services that have not been subject to disease-related closures include those in healthcare, essential infrastructure, food, government, media, security, transport, and financial institutions.

All businesses allowed to operate must comply with certain requirements aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19. Such mandates may vary by industry, but generally include adhering to social distancing guidelines, implementing enhanced sanitation procedures, operating at reduced capacity, and requiring the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), among other measures.

The governor's latest move also lifts Arizona's existing stay-at-home order but advises all residents - and especially those 65 years or older or with underlying medical conditions - too adhere to social distancing standards and avoid gatherings of 10 or more people. Earlier orders that required travelers entering the state to self-quarantine have been lifted. Local authorities cannot impose orders that contradict the state government's mandates.

Significant transport and business disruptions remain likely. Authorities will keep additional security personnel deployed to assist in enforcing remaining measures. Officials could amend the order in short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures will likely accelerate in the coming weeks; however, restrictions may be reimposed or extended further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


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