Yahoo – You’ve heard a lot about a spike in COVID-19 cases, and you’ve probably heard at least a few mentions of a “second wave” of coronavirus. Right now, states like Arizona, Texas, and Oklahoma are seeing dramatic spikes in COVID-19 cases. But these surges aren’t part of the dreaded second wave we’ve been warned about. They’re still part of the first. And that should cause you even more concern.
The Navajo Nation has been forced to reinstate lockdowns to shield its people from major coronavirus outbreaks outside the reservation, especially in Arizona, where cases are surging. Navajo nation president Jonathan Nez said at a virtual town hall earlier this week: “Arizona relaxed its preventive measures, and the number of cases and hospitalizations continue to drastically increase. We cannot put our nation in the same situation. We will continue to rely on science and data as we fight this pandemic.” A 57-hour lockdown has been ordered for the next two weekends, with only essential travel permitted. Face masks must be worn in all public spaces. A sign warns non-residents to stay out of the town of Tuba City in Arizona. But it is no just this city, but many cities across Arizona are struggling with the best Coronavirus policy for their communities. We would like to highlight one here.
The Right Wire Report sent one of our own staff to report on the activities of one city, Chandler City, and their Council Special Meeting on June 18, 2020, concerning the ongoing Coronavirus crisis in the state of Arizona. An interesting exercise in participating in local government. Here were the three key takeaways of the city council meeting:
- City Officials were mostly concern about conformance with surrounding neighbor cities and their policies.
- Many on the political Left (Democrats) were trying to use majority public opinion rule via mass email campaigns for mandatory masking. Conservatives on the Right were clearly opposed and favored a more balanced approach.
- The bottom line was whether to have a balanced approach to the Coronavirus situation vs. meeting a more national agenda of keeping the country locked down, including the Chandler City community. No lockdowns at this time are seen, though the idea of mandatory masking was the main issue – to mask or not to mask.
Check out the entire City Council meeting event here:
From a YouTube commenter Sally Kawamura: Here’s a quick summary for those of you that don’t have the time to listen to the entire meeting: All in all, they haven’t made a definitive decision on whether or not they’re going to mandate face masks. Mayor Kevin Hartke is going to wait to hear what the County has to say before he finalizes a decision (the County is holding a meeting tomorrow). I may be misinterpreting, but from what I understand, Mayor Hartke encourages the use of face masks, but he doesn’t seem keen on mandating and enforcing their use. Here are some timestamps and summaries that may be useful:
- 7:45 Meeting begins
- 15:53 Fire Chief summarizes the state of COVID-19 in AZ, Maricopa County, and Chandler
- 24:30 Hospital capacity, number of cases and morbidity
- 31:20 Prevention vs reaction
- 33:40 How other cities are responding
- 43:18 How to enforce face masks (Tempe is enforcing by educating first, then giving violators an opportunity to comply, and if there is no compliance it may become a class 1 misdemeanor)
- 54:35 Mayor states his concern for the current increase in cases
- 56:31 Enforcement strategy (educate and try to gain compliance)
- 57:43 Concern for police officer safety
- 59:14 Police Chief states that he has faith in our community and that he doesn’t envision a dangerous, escalating scenario occurring in Chandler
- 1:01:26 Suggestion to remind people to practice social distancing and wear masks, possibly use grant money and start producing online PSAs to educate public
- 1:06:00 Mentions that County will be holding a meeting tomorrow
- 1:06:19 Mayor states that a proclamation is his intention and that he wants to encourage people to wear a mask when they’re unable to social distance. However, he wants to minimize/negate police participation.
- 1:12:24 Vice Mayor states that he thinks that people at risk should stay at home. He wants to educate the community but isn’t interested in mandating the use of face masks. He’s pro-self-governance.
- 1:15:00 Council Member Sam Huang states that cities should be able to enforce masks in city facilities. He states (many times) that it’d be difficult to mandate the use of masks in restaurants.
- 1:16:30 Council Member Matt Orlando addresses the fact that most residents support face mask requirements.
- 1:23:13 Vice Mayor states that they should rule based on constitutional rights and the law, not necessarily based on what the people want.
- 1:26:00 Council Member Mark Stewart encourages self-governance and states that he doesn’t want to criminalize those who choose not to wear masks.
- 1:33:26 Mayor Hartke states that he is going to wait to see what the County does before finalizing his decision. I hope that helps and I hope that everyone is staying safe and mindful! We’re all in this together!
For a complete break down by the numbers-Cases, Emergency Room visits, hospitalizations, ICU bed capacity, vent usage, and daily discharges read here.
Update: The Chandler Mayor has made a new mask order (click here for other Arizona cities mask orders):
Effective immediately in the @cityofchandler people over the age of 6 shall wear face coverings in businesses and public spaces where continuous physical distancing of 6-feet or more is not practical or feasible.
— Mayor Kevin Hartke (@chandlerazmayor) June 19, 2020
The Right Wire Report encourages all to get involved in your local government to not just be informed, but also make your voices heard to shape the futures of your local communities. This is just one example showing how to get involved.