Mesa averts business shutdown – for now The Mesa Tribune | The Hometown Newspaper for the city of Mesa, AZ

Mesa averts business shutdown – for now

Mesa averts business shutdown – for now
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By Jim Walsh
Tribune Staff Writer

Mesa Mayor John Giles proclaimed a state of emergency last week, joining his counterparts in Phoenix and other East Valley communities in implementing a series of measures designed to reduce the spread of COVID-19 virus.

Virtually every non-essential city service – including the city’s libraries, museums and the Mesa Arts Center – will be closed during March and April and all city-sponsored events were canceled.

But Giles – like Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke and Gilbert Mayor Jenn Daniels – did not impose a ban on dining in and did not shut down bars, gyms or any other business.

But their effort to try and keep restaurants afloat with dine-in service was upended late Thursday when Gov. Doug Ducey ordered all bars and restaurants to provide only delivery or take-out services. He also closed all gyms and movie theaters closed until further notice.

Ducey’s order came less than 24 hours after Phoenix and Tempe closed those same businesses.

Instead of ordering closings, Giles and his counterparts in Gilbert and Chandler had been urging businesses to observe the recommended limit on gatherings to 10 people.

Mesa City employees, other than police officers and firefighters, also are being encouraged to work from home to protect themselves against getting or spreading infection.

“This action will activate additional resources to assist our community with the effects of the coronavirus outbreak,’’ Giles said.

A city spokeswoman said Giles made the declaration to potentially qualify Mesa for additional federal funds in case the declaration becomes a requirement.

“These actions coincide with the CDC recommendations,’’ Giles said, citing the Centers for Disease Control.

Almost all churches have canceled Sunday services and other events.

Giles encouraged residents to continue supporting restaurants by ordering takeout.

“I have a lot of anxiety over food security. There are a lot of hourly workers affected,’’ Giles said.

He encouraged residents to go to the city’s web site to get information about food banks and other resources. The web site lists all closures and other information about the response to the coronavirus. The address is mesaaz.gov/coronavirus.

“I think the level of anxiety we are experiencing as a community, as a city, as a nation and a world is really unprecedented,’’ Giles said.

He said the only event in his lifetime that is comparable in trauma might be the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, when terrorists rammed airliners into the World Trade Center in New York City, the Pentagon, and into a field in Pennsylvania after other passengers fought them.

In addition, Visit Mesa, the city’s tourism arm, announced a campaign to encourage residents to support downtown restaurants by getting takeout and other ways, while still adhering to the CDC guidelines.

“Every destination across America is being called to save the heart of their city and for Mesa, it’s Main Street,” said Visit Mesa President and CEO Marc Garcia.

“We have worked quickly to update all our local business listings and changes in operation on our website and social media channels and in that process we have developed a one-stop resource site, SupportMesaNow.com, that shares those cafes, bars, restaurants and retail shops that are equipped to offer no-contact options for our healthy citizens.”

Visit Mesa is not encouraging anyone to violate the quarantine if they are sick or feel symptoms.

The nonprofit is sharing a resource tool that makes it easier to know which Mesa businesses are still operating to-go service at their establishments.

“Visit Mesa is aware this effort is a temporary one while our Governor and city leaders consider additional measures to stop the spread of the virus,” said Garcia.

“We are listening to these businesses and we have the resources to share their messages. Even if this effort only serves as a reminder to all to support the small business owner, we aren’t sitting on our hands. Visit Mesa is here for you.”

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