Mayor Kate Gallego Photo by Thalia M. España, Cronkite News

The Mayor is cautiously optimistic about how Arizonans will get through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego is cautiously optimistic about how we’ll all get through this current COVID-19 pandemic. 

It’s the afternoon of March 31 and Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has been making the local news rounds after issuing a stay-at-home order that goes into effect at 5 p.m.

Mayor Gallego told the Copper Courier she has seen two things that really help save lives: strong social distancing and good testing.

That’s why she has been working overtime to send the message to the community that we absolutely need aggressive social distancing. Period. 

Gallego joined a group of mayors in asking Gov. Ducey to implement a safer stay-at-home order. They want the governor to release a more appropriate list of essential businesses that would remain open. 

“I would like to see a more realistic list of essential businesses that is more focused on things that are really essential, such as grocery, pharmacy, and medical appointments and less focused on nail salons, haircuts, pawn shops, and some of the other businesses he has deemed essential,” Gallego said. “We really want as many people as possible to stay home.”

As to whether Gov. Ducey or Arizonans in general should have acted faster in responding to this growing health crisis, Mayor Gallego diplomatically said she is concerned the state needed to take action earlier. But research shows the more people can implement social distancing moving forward, the better. 

The Mayor’s office has been very consistent in posting news and updates on the various social media channels at her disposal. Gallego said she wants to actually show how communities that took social distancing seriously have seen a lower spread of the virus. 

Mayor Gallego added there are currently only 1,000 ventilators available for the entire state. 

She said, “We have millions of residents. I don’t want our doctors and nurses to have to make heartbreaking decisions about who gets that life-saving equipment, and who does not.”

Although there are expected to be huge economic losses if the state has to close down hair and nail salons, Gallego said she believes the financial impact is worth it to keep Arizonans safe.

“It is more important to save lives than to have good manicures,” the Mayor said. 

She added that while everyone needs to practice social distancing, it’s important to still touch base with friends and loved ones because it’s a difficult time for all of us. 

Mayor Gallego said she applauds Gov. Ducey for encouraging technology as much as possible to support friends and family. 

She noted that it’s important to check on people who live alone, and to be supportive of parents who are finding it difficult to both homeschool and work from home full time. 

“I am certainly hanging in there,” Gallego said. “It is unprecedented times.”