COVID-19 Pandemic in Maricopa County...
Whitney Walker, Candidate for Maricopa County Supervisor, District 3
Statement in Response to the COVID-19 Pandemic in Maricopa County
I wanted to personally update you on the actions we’re taking to help promote the health, safety, and well-being of our volunteers, supporters, and the people of Maricopa County. As you may know, we are adjusting our campaign for the immediate future to ensure we do our part to avoid community spread of COVID-19. We will get through this together. In the meantime, let's be proactive and follow the guidelines outlined from trusted government scientists, specialists, and officials.
We have canceled all in-person meetings and events and are currently practicing social distancing. I remain steadfast in advocating for all who call Maricopa County home. As a candidate working to earn your vote and gain your trust, however, I am limited in what I can do. That is why I am calling on our elected officials to provide leadership and strategic planning for the 4.5 million people in Maricopa County and to take action now. We need to enact immediate and necessary precautionary measures throughout Maricopa County.
I applaud the members of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors for issuing a local emergency declaration. This will help ensure that Maricopa County is in position to receive any state and federal resources that may be made available for activities associated with responding to the COVID-19 event.
While the emergency declaration is an important first step, must do more. I urge the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to issue a county-wide declaration for the closure of all bars, clubs, restaurant dining rooms, theaters, entertainment centers, and fitness centers for all cities and unincorporated communities throughout our County. Only essential services and businesses, such as pharmacies and grocery stores, should remain open, and restaurants should move to takeout or delivery only.
Maricopa County is a major population center with nearly one quarter of its residents considered older adults. We need to follow the lead set by other municipalities all over the country and take precautionary measures to protect the health and safety of our communities.
By failing to mandate aggressive social distancing measures, we are putting the people of Maricopa County and our vulnerable populations at risk. We all play a role in reducing and slowing the transmission of COVID-19. As a Candidate and community leader, I will always advocate for what it is in the best interest of maintaining public health and protecting Arizona’s most vulnerable populations.
I also urge the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to anticipate and plan for the negative economic impacts this pandemic will bring. There is no question that closures will have an impact on thousands of employees, employers, and businesses. We need bold County leadership to work on eviction relief for any individuals who may be impacted by closures and cancellations. Such measures should include a moratorium on evictions for residential tenants and small businesses in unincorporated areas of Maricopa County until further direction is received by the state and federal government regarding the availability of potential funding relief.
Now is the time for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to plan for how to best support our small business community and formulate a strategy for assisting businesses in applying for loans through the U.S. Small Business Administration.
Now is the time for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to work with utility and service providers to waive late fees and forgo service disconnections for tenants and small businesses who have been impacted, especially in our unincorporated areas.
Now is the time for the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors to consider collaborating with banks and mortgage lenders to waive late fees, forgo notices of default, and delay other actions to prevent the foreclose of property.
This is not an exhaustive list. The situation is fluid and there are many additional actions that should be taken to address the needs of local residents over the coming days and weeks.
To the medical professionals, first responders, grocery store clerks, pharmacists, HR professionals, election poll workers, social service providers, and all others keeping our communities running amidst COVID-19, thank you. Your acts remind us all of the resiliency we embody as Americans and the compassion we have for one another.
Thank you to the many businesses and the City leaders across Arizona who have committed to protecting the health, safety, and wellbeing of Arizonans. It is time for our County leadership to do the same and intensify its response to COVID-19 to mitigate the damage that will undoubtedly be caused by this unprecedented pandemic.