By KYLE KERSEY
On Tuesday March 31, at 5 p.m., Doug Ducey’s executive order went into effect just one day after being unveiled.
Titled “Stay Healthy, Stay Safe, Stay Connected,” the stay-at-home order is scheduled to remain in place until April 30 unless extended. It’s the most recent in a series of measures taken by the Arizona Governor since declaring a public health emergency on March 11.
The five page document (available in full as a PDF on the Arizona Department of Health Services website) urges Arizonans to exercise social distancing while not forcing people to stay indoors. Here’s a quick rundown of what this means for everyday life.
When are you allowed to leave your home?
Ducey’s plan calls for Arizonans to stay home unless you are:
- Participating in “Essential Activities”
- Going to work or volunteer for “Essential Functions”
- Going to work at an outside office provided it is not open to the public
- Utilizing “Essential Businesses”
What are Essential Activities?
Ducey’s order breaks down Essential Activities into six basic categories:
- Obtaining necessary groceries, supplies, and equipment (i.e. food and home sanitation)
- Taking care of health care needs (includes behavioral as well as physical health)
- Providing care for a family member, friend, or pet in another household
- Engaging in outdoor activities as long as physical distancing is exercised (specific examples include walking, hiking, running, biking and golfing)
- Going to work or volunteer at “Necessary Functions”
- Engaging in speech or religious activity
According to the order, those performing Essential Activities are to maintain a six foot distance between themselves and others whenever possible.
Public transportation will remain open, but only for those utilizing it for Essential Activities. Individuals “shall limit the use of Public Transportation to when absolutely necessary” and maintain the aforementioned six foot physical distance from one another whenever possible.
Homeless residents are exempt from the order but are “strongly urged to obtain shelter as soon as possible and to the maximum extent practicable.”
Additionally, individuals at homes that are “unsafe or become unsafe, such as victims of domestic violence, are permitted and urged to leave their home and stay at a safe alternative location.”
According to Arizona law (Arizona Revised Statute 26-317), violation of this order carries with it a class 1 misdemeanor, the maximum sentence for which is six months in prison and a fine of no more than $2,500.
However, the language of the order makes it unlikely that it is intended for prosecution, stating “prior to any enforcement action being taken…a person shall be notified and given an opportunity to comply.”
This language is in line with Tucson Police Department policy that “police response to people who unknowingly violate emergency orders is to provide them with a warning and education on the importance of social distancing. However, if the attendees are uncooperative, they could be cited.”
The stay home order also assures residents that “no person shall be required to provide documentation or proof of their activities to justify their activities.”
According to TPD Sergeant Pete Dugan, officers “will not be pulling people over to check why they are out of their homes or to ask for papers of ‘proof’ that they are going to/from work.”
However, Tucson Police Chief, Chris Magnus, has made clear that those caught throwing house parties while the order is in effect will face consequences and could be charged with the misdemeanor. “Not surprisingly, house parties are not listed as an ‘essential activity” in his order,” Magnus said.