Arizona’s Republican governor has so far resisted calls to issue a stay-at-home order, and he’s frustrating local officials by refusing to allow cities or counties to issue their own.
Gov. Doug Ducey has shut down the state’s schools and libraries and called off elective surgeries, but movie theaters, gyms, bars and restaurants remain open in counties without confirmed cases of COVID-19, reported The Guardian.
“Many of you have asked if or when the state will move towards a stay-at-home policy,” Ducey said last week. “The answer is, not at this time. The CDC is not there yet. Arizona is not there yet. We’re not at the same stage as other states.”
The governor’s refusal alarms Arizonans at high risk from COVID-19 infection, who see others going about their daily business without paying heed to social distancing or other actions that could reduce spread of the virus.
“It’s really disconcerting because you just see these people and there’s no social distancing,” said Ann O’Connor, a 57-year-old cancer survivor with asthma who watches golfers crowd the course outside her Paradise Valley home. “It is like a huge, sick experiment.”
Arizona had 919 cases as of Sunday morning, up 18 percent from the day before, but fewer than 14,000 tests have been conducted across the state of more than 7 million people.
“There’s no virtue in waiting,” said Yale epidemiologist Gregg Gonsalvez. “Social distancing and business closures are meant to be a preventative. They’re not to be seen as something you do when it gets really bad – it’s to keep it from getting really bad.”
A petition drive has drawn more than 163,000 signatures asking Ducey to lock down Arizona, and many residents are confused by the governor’s directives and worried he’s acting too slowly.
“We should already have been locked down,” said Parris Wallace, a 34-year-old director of a Phoenix nonprofit organization who recently recovered from coronavirus-like symptoms. “Like, knowing what I know, and going through it, I just cannot stress enough to people: just stay home, stay indoors.”