The number of coronavirus cases in Maricopa County alone surpassed the 1,000 mark Friday, totaling 1,049, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.
The total number of COVID-19 cases in the state reached 1,769, while at least 41 people are known to have died from the virus.
The health department reported that 24,673 people in Arizona have now been tested for coronavirus, with nearly 16,000 of those tests having been administered in Maricopa County.
Ducey Says Salons Are Not ‘Essential’
Gov. Doug Ducey said during a town hall Thursday night that hair salons are “not covered” as “essential” businesses under his stay-at-home order, despite previous guidance from his office saying they are, according to The Arizona Republic.
“If [salons are] looking for cover under one of the categories, then they’re going to have to be able to demonstrate that they can exercise social distancing or some other type of protective (measures),” the governor said.
A press release from his office on March 23 included “barber shops and hair salons” under the category of “professional and personal services” on a list of essential businesses, meaning businesses that could stay open while others were forced to close.
Some hair stylists had protested this designation after the stay-at-home order went into place Tuesday, saying it was impossible to adhere to social distancing guidelines – such as staying six feet apart from other people – while doing their job
Cities were barred from closing “essential” businesses outlined on the list, although Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans decided to shut down salons anyway. She said Ducey’s order did not clearly define which businesses were included, and she felt their closure was necessary for public health.
It’s unclear how Ducey’s statements Thursday night will affect salons that are still open. The Copper Courier reached out to his office for clarity but did not receive an immediate reply.
Seth Scott, Rep. Greg Stanton’s chief of staff, said on Twitter the governor’s office told him they will not be providing further guidance on which businesses are considered “essential.”
“Just got off the phone with the Gov’s office, who said that small businesses who don’t know if they are covered by Exec Order NEED TO HIRE AN ATTORNEY to interpret the E.O. for them, that Gov’s office will not be providing any clarification or help,” Scott said.
Sen. Kyrsten Sinema chimed in, calling this response “insane.” State Rep. Athena Salman also criticized the governor’s actions, saying, “Or he could do his job. Geez.”
First Friday Moving Online
While the First Friday art walk in downtown Phoenix is usually a social hotspot, it has now been canceled in light of the coronavirus outbreak. However, some activities are continuing online.
The Roosevelt Row arts district has created a 360-degree virtual map of the area. People can “walk” through the streets and click on storefronts to learn more about the shop and its products, as well as vendors and their art.
The group’s website also lists local artists in a spreadsheet including their websites and Instagram handles so people can see more of their work.
And to make up for the music that can usually be heard up and down the streets on a First Friday, there will be a live performance from local band The Color 8 on Instagram at 7 p.m.
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