More Hikers And Golfers, Zero Mask Arrests: A Look At Phoenix COVID-19 Numbers

By Christina Estes
Published: Wednesday, September 9, 2020 - 5:53am
Updated: Wednesday, September 9, 2020 - 8:42am

Palo Verde golf course
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Palo Verde in Phoenix is a 9-hole course located at 15th and Maryland avenues.

Despite the hottest Phoenix summer on record, more people are using the city’s outdoor recreation facilities. 

While COVID-19 has canceled many activities, the city’s hiking trails and golf courses have stayed open. Phoenix says trail use increased 363% over the summer. Traffic is lower at the city’s eight golf courses but still significantly higher than pre-COVID: up 68% in July and 58% in August. 

“In addition, we have offered virtual recreation for all ages, including seniors, to give them opportunities to try to stay active even if they were at home,” Milton Dohoney, assistant city manager told the council during a meeting Tuesday.

Since opening the Convention Center on May 29 to provide shelter on excessive heat days for people experiencing homelessness, Phoenix has served more than 31,000 meals to about 19,000 people. Dohoney reported Phoenix provided 65,588 meals to people who are homebound over the summer and made more than 17,000 phone calls to check on seniors. 

This week, Phoenix began distributing personal protective equipment to local school districts. The city used some of its federal coronavirus relief funds to buy more than 1.1 million masks; 1,500 gallons of hand sanitizer; and 38,000 isolation gowns to support 300 schools in 29 districts.

On June 20, a citywide requirement that people wear face coverings in public took effect. The council’s declaration applies to people when they are away from home and within six feet of another person who is not a member of their family or household. Since then, the Phoenix Police Department has responded to 224 mask violation calls and 260 public gathering calls.

“There were no arrests made, and we issued less than five citations over the course of the entire summer,” Dohoney said. 

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