March 19: City of Tempe's coronavirus (COVID-19) update
Restaurants, courts, economic assistance and more
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. Visit tempe.gov/coronavirus for the latest information.
Tempe proclamation involving closures and restaurant changes in effect for 8 p.m. tonight
Governor’s Executive Order takes over authority as of March 20
Tempe’s emergency proclamation in response to the coronavirus pandemic proceeds largely unchanged following Arizona Governor Doug Ducey’s Executive Order dealing with restaurant, bar, gym and movie theater operations.
Today, Mayor Mark Mitchell issued a proclamation to order the closure of Tempe bars, in-restaurant dining, and recreational and entertainment venues effective 8 p.m. tonight, March 19, as well as the closure of Tempe gyms and workout studios as of 1 p.m. today, March 19.
Mitchell’s ordered closures and operational changes included:
- Gymnasiums, fitness centers and workout studios shall be closed to the public as of 1 p.m. on March 19.
- Restaurants, nightclubs and bars shall be closed to the public as of 8 p.m. on March 19, except for services of delivery or curbside pick-up.
- Recreational and entertainment venues, such as movie theaters, comedy clubs, bowling alleys, arcades and others shall be closed to the public as of 8 p.m. on March 19.
Ducey’s Executive Order, announced this afternoon, includes:
- The closure of bars, movie theaters and gyms, effective after their close of business on Friday, March 20.
- The transition of all restaurants to dine-out service only, and the ability for restaurants to sell alcohol with dine-out service, effective after their close of business on March 20.
What does this mean for Tempe businesses?
Tempe’s proclamation remains the same – including all specified closures and restaurant operational transitions – and enforceable as of 8 p.m. tonight. Tempe’s order named additional types of recreation and entertainment venues and those remain included in the order to close.
Economic injury disaster loans now available to Arizona businesses
Today, the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has approved an Economic Injury Disaster Loan declaration for Arizona that will help small businesses here in the state impacted by COVID-19. Individual businesses can be eligible for up to $2 million through the program. Businesses in all 15 Arizona counties are now eligible to apply. The Tempe Chamber of Commerce is hosting a free webinar from 11 a.m. until noon tomorrow to help businesses apply.
Free help for restaurants
Tempe's Economic Development Department is working to find ways to help our businesses during these tough times by connecting companies with resources to help each other.
CloudKitchens specializes in assisting restaurants with food delivery through technology platforms such as DoorDash, GrubHub and UberEats. The company is offering free services to any restaurants closing their dining rooms and switching entirely to take-out/delivery.
They are offering their hardware, monthly fees and consulting services free to any restaurant during this time. If any restaurants are moving to tech-based ordering/delivery platforms, they do all the work to get the restaurant and their menus online so the restaurant can focus on their food and customers. Anyone interested can contact Jose Volio at email@example.com.
Relief for tenants
The City of Tempe has suspended all financial evictions from city-controlled housing in response to the coronavirus pandemic. This means roughly 30 families can be assured that their housing is secure.
In addition, the city is appealing to landlords to remain flexible when possible as tenant incomes change due to job loss or a reduction in work hours. The city will be communicating with the 400 landlords that it contracts with to provide housing to people participating in rental voucher programs such as the Housing Choice Voucher (Section 8) program. Roughly 2,000 households participate in those programs.
This week, the Arizona Supreme Court gave Maricopa County Justice Courts authorization to suspend mandatory timelines on eviction hearings. Some Valley justices are delaying the hearings; others are moving forward or remain undecided.
Maricopa County Justice Courts recommend that landlords and tenants who are already part of an eviction suit call the listed court to determine if a new hearing date has been set. Tenants who choose to move out before their hearings should return keys to the landlord and not keep or leave them behind, which could result in extra rent costs.
Tenants who need financial assistance with rent and utilities can contact Tempe Community Action Agency, which has limited funds available based on income eligibility. Tenants may also find resources here.
Tempe City Court is taking action to protect its staff, jurors and those who appear before the court. At this time, some proceedings are being postponed to a date beyond May 1, 2020. Postponements include criminal proceedings and civil traffic hearings.
Civil walk-in dockets will continue to be held from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and 2 to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday. Criminal walk-in dockets are expanded to be held from 8 to 11:30 a.m. and 2 to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday.
If you have been diagnosed with coronavirus/COVID-19 or if you are exhibiting symptoms of the virus, or if you suspect you have been exposed to the virus, you must notify the Court remotely before entering. If are feeling ill, experiencing a cough, fever, or sneezing, we are asking you to contact the Court by phone, 480 350-8271, or email as your matters may be able to be resolved remotely. Several online or remote options include online motion filings, making or extending a payment and continuing some appearances.
Utility payments: online, by phone or mail
During the coronavirus (COVID-19) Tempe wants to remind customers that there are many ways to pay your utility bill, including 24/7 options.
You can pay online anytime. There is no charge for credit card payments. You can pay by phone at 480-350-8361. You can pay by drop box or by mail. We are still open to take in person payments, however this is not recommended.
You can continue to be active and exercise outside. Hike, bike, walk your dog, run and enjoy the great outdoors, but don't gather in groups of 10 or more.
The best way to avoid getting coronavirus (COVID-19) is not to be exposed to it. Staying six feet away from people and washing your hands frequently are the top ways to stay healthy.
Cheer on a Food Network star tonight
Here's an easy way to show some Tempe love for a local restaurant. Cheer on chef Jeff Kraus tonight on Food Network. He's the owner of Crepe Bar and is competing on Vegas Chef Prizefight.
Get the latest news and information at tempe.gov/coronavirus.
Call 480-350-4311 for questions.
Nikki Ripley, Communication and Media Relations Manager, 480-350-8846