From virtual community events to promoting local businesses, Arizonans are stepping up to keep their communities together during the pandemic.

It’s been nearly six months since Arizonans were first put under a stay-at-home order as a way to slow the spread of COVID-19, and in that time, local leaders have found a variety of ways to help bring their communities together.

Here are some ways community members are giving back.


Community conversations

Judy Schwiebert, a former high school teacher who is running for the state legislature in Arizona’s 20th Legislative District, live streams weekly conversations with different community members, highlighting different ways people are socializing while social distancing. In addition to highlighting groups like the Social Distancing Sewing Bee, a group of sewing enthusiasts who made masks during personal protective equipment shortages, and Yoga Pura, a studio that offered virtual yoga sessions while businesses were closed, Schwiebert has also held discussions on issues such as homelessness.


Early preparations for reopening schools

Schools in Arizona ended the spring semester early due to COVID-19, and educators spent the next several months figuring out how they would reopen in the fall. To help students and educators navigate this process, Rep. Jennifer Pawlik (R-Chandler) held virtual town halls, where high school students, teachers, and administrators would discuss what returning to school safely would look like for them.


Safely supporting small businesses

Statewide closures left many businesses struggling to stay afloat. While many had to close all business operations, restaurants and other services that could provide delivery or pick-up service found ways to remain partially open during the pandemic. To help get the word out, Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans publicly promoted local shops throughout Flagstaff, encouraging residents to safely support the local business community. Evans, who is a candidate for the state House of Representative in Legislative District 6, also has a COVID-19 resources page on her website.


Helping others stay informed

To help her neighbors stay informed throughout the pandemic, Kathy Knecht, a candidate running for statewide office in Legislative District 21, has used social media as a tool to promote personal health. Knecht, who has served on the Peoria School Board and the Peoria and Surprise Chambers of Commerce, regularly posts public health updates and holds forums on ways to stay healthy while staying at home.