City of South Tucson copes during COVID pandemic

Posted at 5:45 PM, Dec 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-12-05 00:38:50-05

TUCSON, Ariz. — The City of South Tucson, a 1.21 square-mile spot in the middle of the city of Tucson, encountered some different challenges to deal with during the pandemic.

South Tucson mayor, Bob Teso told KGUN9, they’ve stayed in step with the mandates and ordinances put in place by the City of Tucson.

"We have pretty much gone hand-in-hand. We don't want to stick out as an island out here, we are an island to start with, because we're surrounded by the City of Tucson completely,” said Teso.

He says one if the reasons why is because he does not want his city to impede on what the bigger city is trying to accomplish in the name of public health. But there is also another reason why Mayor Teso is taking the coronavirus pandemic serious: South Tucson's housing density.

"Some of our lots have as many as three or four houses on them. We are the third most densely populated city in Arizona. A lot of times within those houses, you can have multiple generations in them. Its an issue if the younger groups go outside and visit with some of their friends, they're liable to contract the virus and take it home to some of the elders,” said Teso.

Another challenge, Teso says about 45% of the population does not have access to the internet; a major tool when it comes to widespread education and awareness.

"That's the way South Tucson has always been. A lot of people who live here are beneath the federal poverty threshold and we try and serve them as best we can,” said Teso.

But all-in-all, Mayor Teso does believe South Tucson is fairing as well as they can during this pandemic; staying in step with CDC guidelines, implementing their own policies and seeking help from non-profit organizations.

The City of South Tucson is considering going under a curfew. If it happens, mayor and council may make that decision early next week.