Arizona Gov. Ducey Encouraged By COVID-19 Case Data; Extends Eviction Moratorium

By Ben Giles
Published: Thursday, July 16, 2020 - 6:38pm
Updated: Friday, July 17, 2020 - 8:02am

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey
Howard Fischer/Capitol Media Services
Gov. Doug Ducey discusses the trends in COVID-19 infections July 16, 2020, as he extends his order barring evictions of those affected by the pandemic.

After weeks of watching the number of COVID-19 cases in Arizona steadily rise, Gov. Doug Ducey reported some encouraging signs for the state.

Arizona last reported a daily high in new COVID-19 cases on June 29, when the state announced 4,877 new cases.

On Thursday, the Department of Health Services announced 3,257 new cases, continuing a brief but encouraging decline.

“Today, we see the first evidence of the trend headed in the right direction in terms of fewer cases,” Ducey said.

The governor attributed that change to local mask ordinances requiring most Arizonans to wear masks and his own orders limited large gatherings.

And Ducey was happy to report that Arizonans complying with those orders have made a difference. But he also warned that residents must continue to be on their best behavior.

“What we’ve gone through and the challenges that I’m sharing with you really is Arizona’s new normal,” Ducey said. “I really want to ask people to get their heads around that; that this is going to be a challenge that’s going to be ongoing for the foreseeable future.”

“There is no end in sight today … and there will be no victory laps,” Ducey later added.

The governor did not issue any new orders restricting Arizonans actions during the pandemic.

But he did vow to update Arizona schools with new reopening guidance next week. Ducey set Aug. 17 as an “aspirational” date for students to return to classrooms, but Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said Wednesday that she’s doubtful schools will be able to reopen for in-person instruction by then.

Ducey said he’d meet with Hoffman before making an announcement next week.

The governor also addressed warnings of an “eviction cliff.”

In March, Ducey ordered a 120-day moratorium on residential evictions to protect Arizonans struggling to pay rent during the pandemic. That order was set to expire on July 23.

Courts were preparing for a wave of evictions once the moratorium expired.

Ducey issued a new executive order extending the moratorium through Oct. 31. 

The governor also announced an additional $650,000 to help administer a rental assistance program that has struggled to help out renters. Of the roughly 18,000 applicants to the program, roughly 1,200 renters have received assistance to date.

Ducey also announced some relief for landlords and homeowners with tenants — a $5 million foreclosure prevention program.

“This’ll provide targeted relief to homeowners who rely on income from tenants to help them avoid foreclosure,” Ducey said.

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