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Is Arizona ready to reopen? Local politicians weigh in.

Is Arizona ready to reopen? Local politicians weigh in.
Posted at 10:21 PM, May 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-05-14 01:21:12-04

TUCSON, Ariz. -- The stay at home order will end Friday, May 15th, and some local politicians are saying it’s too soon.

“I think it’s too soon,” said Pima County Supervisor Betty Villegas, with District 5.

“The virus is still out there. It’s just as contagious,” said Ramon Valdez, the Chairman for the Pima County Board of Directors, and Supervisor for District 2.

“We’re not ready,” said Tucson Council Member Steve Kozachik.

“Our slope has not even flattened,” added Tucson Councilwoman Nikki Lee.

Most politicians KGUN9 spoke to think reopening the state is not a good idea, including Tucson Mayor Regina Romero.

In a statement she wrote in part:

‘I am deeply disappointed with Governor Ducey's decision to rush the re-opening of our state.’

Though Pima County Supervisor Steve Christy says it’s about time.

“We’ve been waiting for this and, everybody says well we can’t open too early. My...my concern is, I don’t want to open too late,” Christy told KGUN9.

Though some officials argue the state has yet to meet White House and CDC guidelines.

“Which was 14 days with no increases. We’re going to have significant more testing. We’re going to have contact tracing,” said Supervisor Villegas.

“We haven’t hit any of those marks, with one exception and that is that there are now hospital beds that are available. But that’s only because the hospitals stopped doing elective surgery,” added Councilman Kozachik

Even though elective surgeries are back on the table, Supervisor Christy says medical professionals are okay, at least for now.

“There is more than ample, hospital beds, ventilators, PPE, to take care, accommodate, and address any potential surge that might happen,” Christy told KGUN9.

However officials say, lifting the stay-at-home order could give people a false sense of safety, potentially driving them to ignore social distancing protocol. In which case, Councilman Kozachik says it could look as follows:

“The virus is going to spread and we’re going to lose the ground that we just worked really hard to make up,” said Council Member Kozachik.

“Then what are we going to do? Are we going to shut down again?” added Supervisor Villegas.

“I think we’re all really concerned with public health during this whole process,” stressed Councilwoman Lee.

At the end of the day, all politicians we spoke to agreed on one thing: The importance of safety.

“We need to be careful, if not for ourselves, for our loved ones,” said Valdez, the Pima County Board of Supervisors Chairman.

Mayor Romero also advises everyone 'proceed methodically and cautiously to prevent a re-emergence that would be even more damaging to our economy in the long-run.'

Mayor Romero’s full statement on the lift of the stay at home order can be found below:

‘I am deeply disappointed with Governor Ducey's decision to rush the re-opening of our state. Dr. Fauci and our nation's top health experts testified yesterday that without widespread testing and a robust contact tracing plan in place, states that are re-opening risk a second wave of the virus that could wipe away all of the progress we have made. As eager as we all are to return to any sense of normalcy, we should proceed methodically and cautiously to prevent a re-emergence that would be even more damaging to our economy in the long-run.’