Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego | Facebook
As restaurants and bars across Arizona closed to dine-in service in an effort to curtail the coronavirus, a state lawmaker urged the White House to provide relief to workers.
“It could threaten the very existence of some of these places,” Rep. John Kavanagh told the Grand Canyon Times. “Hopefully the president will soon have something in place to provide economic relief.”
Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego made the announcement on Twitter Tuesday afternoon. “Based on input from healthcare professionals, business leaders, & community members, PHX is declaring a state of emergency forcing immediate closure of bars & moving restaurants to delivery/take-out/drive-thru only starting 8PM tonight," she wrote.
The closures come amid a wave of closures affecting large public gathering places.
“It looks like this is happening all over the country,” Kavanagh said. “Given that in Arizona we don’t know extent of the infection rate, I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry, rather have us experience a peak like what’s happening in Italy or Seattle.”
Still, he noted that only offering carry-out service will do little to help workers nor cushion the blow for most establishments that have to pay rent.
“Some of these businesses have guaranteed the rent with their own personal credit,” Kavanagh said, whose district is in eastern Maricopa County. “I sincerely hope we can get some reasonable economic relief to them.”
The Phoenix closures were preceded by Flagstaff ordering a similar shutdown Monday; Tucson on Tuesday also followed suit.
Tempe is considering a similar measure, according to a report posted on the Arizona Republic website.
Kavanagh compared the effect on restaurants to what is happening with the airline industry.
“This is totally uncharted territory,” Kavanagh said. “I went to restaurant today for takeout and the hit is very much like the airlines, no one has shut them down, but nobody is flying.”