On June 26th the Mayor of Sierra Vista called a Special Meeting for the City Council to vote on Resolution 2020-040 giving authorization for the Mayor to declare a local emergency pursuant to ARS 26-311(A) and to issue an emergency order. The motion passed by the 6/0 vote of Mayor Pro Tem Gray, Council Members Benning, Umphrey, Wolfe, Pacheco, and Calhoun. I voted in favor of this resolution for two reasons.
The first reason that I voted in favor of the resolution is the immediate need for a state of emergency in Sierra Vista because of the COVID-19 crisis. The Mayor and I had both independently spoken with officials at Canyon Vista Medical Center, then with each other prior to this meeting, so I knew that the mask mandate coming from the Mayor was not only necessary, but it was also reasonable. Masks are not required walking around town, or in locations where social distancing can still be observed. But, in order to slow the spread of this disease, and lessen the strain on our medical resources, masks are still a must.
The second reason that I voted in favor of this resolution was an economic one. Our City needs to stay open. Many small, local businesses have not recovered from the state-wide shut down yet. If wearing a mask, as recommended by the CDC, Arizona Department of Health Services, and the Cochise County Health Department, helps to allow our local businesses to continue operating, continue employing people, and continue providing services to our community, then I am in support of it. I made a point to thank the Mayor for calling the special meeting. I understand that this decision was not easy, but sometimes it takes a very courageous step to do what is in the best interest of the citizens of Sierra Vista. This continues to be a public health issue, not a partisan one, and that is sometimes lost in the static. I am grateful for the careful consideration the Mayor put into this before moving forward with it, I feel that is the hallmark of someone that can be trusted. I am also grateful for the council's unanimous and thoughtful action on this issue.
Since then, on June 29th, Governor Ducey issued an executive order closing all bars, gyms, theaters, water parks, night clubs, and banning gatherings of more than 50 people for 30 days. You can watch the entire press conference here.
Below are the meetings from the second half of June:
June 26th Special Council Meeting
Emergency Declaration (downloadable PDF)