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March 16: City of Tempe’s coronavirus (COVID-19) response:

Food and utilities assistance; helping neighbors and local businesses

Post Date:03/16/2020 8:13 PM

Tempe, AZ – The City of Tempe wants to be a source of clarity, information and resources for community members who need services and have questions during this time of national and local uncertainty around the impacts of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

All critical services that Tempe provides – police and fire protection, traffic control, buses, light rail, Orbit, court services, water and wastewater and solid waste pickup – will continue to be fully available as normal. Tempe is prepared to continue providing those services uninterrupted even if the virus spreads and begins to affect city employees.

Emergency Declaration

At the March 19 Special Council Meeting, the City Council will consider approval of an ordinance authorizing the Mayor to declare a citywide emergency. This type of action has been authorized in the Tempe City Charter since 1964 but has never before been used by the City of Tempe in response to a public health emergency. Tempe’s consideration of declaring a local emergency follows similar actions by the state and federal governments. Once enacted, the Mayor would have the authority to enact necessary emergency response measures via proclamation during the duration of the coronavirus emergency. The city is pursuing this as a precautionary measure in case it is necessary, during the course of the response to this rapidly evolving public health emergency. The ordinance would need to be approved by six of seven Councilmembers.

March 17 Presidential Preference Election

Tempe voters can drop off their 2020 Presidential Preference Election ballots at Pyle Recreation Center tomorrow. Visit Maricopa County Elections for additional details and polling information.

Food and utility assistance

The City of Tempe understands that closures are affecting people financially. In these unprecedented times, people need help. From school children who need lunches and at-risk seniors to hourly workers feeling a pinch, our non-profits and local businesses are coming together to help our community stay strong.

Food and shelter

Students under age 18 may pick up grab and go meals at nine locations in the Tempe Elementary School District and six locations in the Kyrene School District. Tempe Union High School District is also offering grab and go meals. 

Tempe Community Action Agency is offering a drive-through meal to go service Monday through Friday from March 16-27. This service is available to currently enrolled seniors. Meals to go will be distributed at the North Tempe Multigenerational Center, 1555 N Bridalwreath St, Tempe, AZ 85281 at the south entrance from 10 to 11 a.m. Seniors who are not enrolled should call 480-858-6511 for meals to go or call the Area Agency on Aging’s senior helpline at 602-264-4357 to register for home-delivered meals.

TCAA has stopped taking seniors to the grocery store during this time but will bring food boxes to enrolled seniors.

TCAA is continuing to provide emergency food boxes to Tempe households at its food pantry, 2146 E. Apache Blvd, Monday through Friday, 9 a.m. to noon with additional hours on Tuesday and Thursday from 4:40-6:30 p.m.

Tempe Community Action Agency is continuing to offer emergency rent for eligible households experiencing a financial crisis. Details

TCAA is continuing to operate the I-HELP Emergency Shelter program in partnership with Tempe-area faith organizations and other partners for currently enrolled adults in need of emergency shelter.


Salt River Project, APS, Cox Communications and CenturyLink have announced they are suspending any disconnections or terminations.

The City of Tempe will not disconnect residential water service or stop trash and recycling collection for those with overdue accounts until further notice. Households with existing disconnects will have their service restored as well.

Your local businesses need you

During this time, your local businesses need you more than ever. Your actions can help keep hourly staff working, too. Here are some ways you can be supportive of your favorite restaurants, services and shops:

The Tempe Chamber of Commerce and Local First and Downtown Tempe Authority have local business lists. Try them as a first choice.

Many of your favorite restaurants are open and waiting for your business. Get your order to go. Some businesses even offer curbside service, so you don’t have to get out of your car. Use a restaurant delivery service, such as Uber Eats, Grub Hub or Postmates. Did you know that Doordash has a major regional office here in Tempe?

Online shopping right now can keep both you and local businesses strong. Buying gift cards to your favorite shops is a great way to be supportive to those businesses you patronize often. A card to an independent coffee shop, a shop or restaurant can make a big difference. If you are missing the creativity of the Tempe Festival of the Arts, explore the artist directory and shop those merchants.

Help each other

Tempe residents are amazing. Some neighborhood associations are already organizing to help the most vulnerable people on their blocks. Reach out to your representatives to see if there are opportunities for you to get involved in meaningful and healthy ways.

There are ways you can help without leaving your home. Local non-profits need donations now to help people with rent, food and basic needs.

Tempe Community Action Agency has an Amazon wish list and also accepts monetary donations. Information on in-person volunteering will be coming soon.

Tempe Community Council partners with 48 local non-profits, providing funding and support. They can use monetary donations to support programs and services.

If you are concerned about the pets in our community, Lost Our Home Pet Rescue has extra need of foster families for dogs and cats. Pets can't give or get coronavirus. They will also accept donations of pet goods or money. All pet adoptions must be scheduled in advance.

Transit information

Current transit operations will remain unaffected at this time. Valley Metro is increasing its cleaning and disinfecting regimens on all bus, light rail trains and light rain platforms.  Reminders if you're taking public transit –

1) Practice social distancing

2) Wash your hands

3) Use hand sanitizer

4) Cover your cough or sneeze with your elbow

5) Avoid high touch areas


Please remember to only flush toilet paper and human waste in your toilet. Flushing anything other than toilet paper and human waste can cause backups in your home, the street, or blockages at our wastewater treatment plants. Please do not flush baby wipes, sanitary wipes, paper towels, napkins, tissue or other items. If you have to use something other than toilet paper, please dispose of those items in the trash. For more information please call Tempe 311 at 480-350-4311.


Get the latest news and information at

Call 480-350-4311 for questions.


Media contact:

Nikki Ripley, Communication and Media Relations Manager, 480-350-8846

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