Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans issued these remarks at the May 12 City Council Meeting in response to Governor Ducey’s May 12 Executive Order:
Governor Ducey’s existing Executive Order preempts Arizona mayors from further taking any actions related to COVID-19, the new order goes even further and expressly prohibits local government from enacting any restrictions or mandates regarding Covid-19.
The State of Arizona is currently operating under his Executive Order and only he determines what restrictions are in place, what are lifted, and the timelines for reopening.
Governor Ducey has not mandated that face masks be worn, he has “recommended” that people “consider wearing them” (meaning people do not have to wear them).
He has “recommended” that people follow social distancing guidelines, but he has not mandated it.
He has suggested that people only travel if necessary, but has not mandated an end to non-essential travel.
He has suggested that retail establishments limit occupancy, but he has not mandated it.
He has suggested that people continue to stay home unless they are going to an “essential business” after declaring just about all businesses essential.
The majority of businesses are reopening, regardless of the situation on the Navajo Nation and the increase of cases and deaths in Coconino County.
The reason that some Arizonans are not taking this seriously is because the Governor is not taking this seriously.
When the City of Wilcox “opened” and the Sheriff refused to issue any citations the Governor did nothing.
The Public Health experts in Coconino County say we can expect COVID-19 number to continue to increase in our City and County for the next 2-3 weeks.
COVID-19 has turned our economy (locally and nationally) upside down.
Most of our small businesses never got the financial assistance that was promised and for some it came too late.
Many people have still not yet received the promised $1,200 COVID-19 stimulus that was promised by the Federal government.
Many people will have balloon payments in July for mortgage as most lenders refused to put the three months on the end of the loan. (My mortgage company has refused to put the three months on the end of my loan and therefore I have a balloon payment in July).
Many people will have balloon payments for rent in July as the monies promised to assist with rent has been woefully inadequate to address the need we have in our community.
The majority of people have still not received unemployment.
Here in Flagstaff many people worked 2+ jobs and although they lost 1-2 because they still have one and make more than $240 a week, they are not eligible for unemployment. I lost two of the three jobs that I had. My daughter was working part-time and was laid off. Neither of us qualify for unemployment.
The Arizona Legislature took a break on March 23 and have yet to return. They are still receiving a per diem, they aren’t working at the Capitol, and there is no plan to move forward.
Many have said that they do not feel like help is coming and that they will have to risk their lives because they haven’t received the stimulus or unemployment and their landlords are threatening them on a daily basis with eviction and incredible late fees.
Government at the federal and state level has failed us. And preempted elected officials at the local level from taking any action.
The COVID-19 infection numbers in Flagstaff AZ are increasing. The COVID-19 infection numbers in Coconino County are increasing.
The largest group of people impacted by COVID-19 are those between 20-44 (as of today, May 9th, in Coconino County 39% of the cases are people who are between 20-44 years of age).
Our economy was decimated based on the concept that we would be saving lives by taking direct, purposeful action.
Instead our leadership chose to not follow CDC guidelines, ignore science, not mandate actions that were needed, not model the behavior that was needed, and deny/delay or provide woefully inadequate assistance to businesses and citizens.
The way things stand now it looks as if we will lose just as many if not more people.
I hope this answers some of the questions you might have.
Mayor Coral Evans