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March 23: City of Tempe's coronavirus (COVID-19) update

2-1-1. parks information, Tempe businesses step up to help

Post Date:03/23/2020 6:00 PM

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 for the latest information. 

Getting outside at city parks

Getting outside is important, especially during this difficult time of social distancing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has flagged mental health as a top concern associated with the COVID-19 outbreak. City, state and national parks offer a breath of fresh air and plenty of space to get some exercise. But all parks must be used with health and safety in mind.

 In partnership with the National Parks and Recreation Association (NPRA) and the Arizona Parks and Recreation Association (APRA), the City of Tempe encourages all park users to follow these recommendations:

  • Do not use parks or trails if you are exhibiting symptoms.
  • Follow CDC guidance on personal hygiene prior to and during use of parks or trails.
  • Prepare for limited access to public restrooms and water fountains.
  • Share the trail and warn others of your presence as you pass.
  • Observe CDC’s minimum recommended social distancing of 6 feet from others at all times.

See more at

What steps are being taken to keep city parks clean?

City staff’s top priority is cleaning and sanitizing areas that are commonly used in all city parks. Restrooms are cleaned and sanitized daily, and twice a day at Kiwanis Park. Playgrounds, exercise equipment, drinking fountains, tables and benches are all power-washed and sanitized daily at high-use parks, and every other day at lower-use parks.

Kiwanis Tennis Center and sports courts
Community basketball, pickleball and tennis courts remain open for individual and small group play. The Kiwanis Tennis Center will remain open to the public for drop-in tennis between 8 a.m. and 8 p.m. Enter and exit through the gate at the tennis center; the Kiwanis Recreation Center remains closed.

Mark’s Café

Mark’s Café isn’t open as it traditionally is, yet they are serving the community. Today, Mark and Karen Vojtek and their staff gave away more than 300 breakfast wraps and veggie scrambles with breakfast potatoes in a temporary drive-up in front of their restaurant. They will be doing it again from 7 to 10 a.m. on Wednesday. Donations are accepted so they can keep giving food to the people who need it in our community.

Two Tempe distilleries making hand sanitizer

Shout out to two Tempe distilleries making a difference! Adventurous Stills and Arizona Distilling Co, makers of fine whiskeys and spirits, have both shifted gears to make hand sanitizer for the medical community and public safety workers. Mixing 190 proof alcohol and hydrogen peroxide, along with other ingredients, the sanitizer is safe for healthcare professionals. Right now, the hand sanitizer is only being made for the medical community. Both facilities are open for take-out bottles of their spirits but not their hand sanitizer.

YMCA emergency childcare

The YMCA in Tempe is one of nine sites Valleywide offering free emergency childcare. The program is offered daily 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and is focused on small groups and safety precautions. Meals are provided. Scholarships are being offered for first responders, healthcare workers and government employees. Other need-based scholarships are also available. There is no online registration. Visit the Tempe branch at 7070 S. Rural Road or call 602-404-9622.

2-1-1 Arizona hotline

A new, statewide COVID-19 hotline is open.

2-1-1 Arizona is an information and referral service links individuals and families to vital services throughout the state, including food, rental, and utility assistance, along with other forms of aid. People can get information in English or Spanish such as: 
  • How to prepare for and prevent Coronavirus spread
  • Testing information for COVID-19
  • What populations are at higher risk from the Coronavirus
  • What to do if you get sick
  • Coronavirus and animals
  • A list of websites with accurate, reliable and up-to-date information
  • Information on food, housing and financial assistance

To use the hotline, dial the numbers 2-1-1 from your phone. Hotline hours are 8 a.m. to 8 p.m.

Tempe lab now processing coronavirus tests

Sonora Quest Laboratories started processing COVID-19 samples at their main laboratory in Tempe.  This will allow Sonora Quest to decrease anticipated turnaround time and increase the number of tests it can run per day for Arizona patients.

“In bringing the COVID-19 testing to our local lab, our anticipated turnaround time is expected to improve however it could be impacted by high demand,” said Dr. Brian Koeneman, Scientific Director of Molecular Diagnostics with Sonora Quest. “All labs are dealing with a global supply shortage of the sample collection kits needed for the testing and we are continuously pursuing all options to keep up with the demand.”

Patients suspected of, or confirmed to have, COVID-19 should consult with a physician. Sonora Quest requires a physician to order the COVID-19 test and it is not available directly to consumers at Sonora Quest Patient Service Centers or through mobile services.

For more information about the COVID-19 testing service, visit

DRC rescheduled

The March 24 Development Review Commission meeting has been postponed to April 28..All agenda items will be re-noticed according to Zoning and Development Code requirements.  

FABRIC Tempe to begin making masks, medical gowns

FABRIC, Tempe’s fashion incubator, is normally known for fashion shows and helping new designers make beautiful apparel. But as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) their manufacturing area will soon be making reusable, medical-quality gowns and masks.

“We would have started making these garments already but there are significant CDC and FDA standards to producing medical-grade masks and gowns,” FABRIC cofounder Angela Johnson said.

“Making masks outside of the government-regulated standards may not only be futile, it could be potentially harmful to healthcare workers. We know people want to help, but masks and gowns made from everyday cloth from a home will not be effective in fighting coronavirus.”

The coronavirus spreads through small droplets. Materials need to adhere to AAMI standards in order to be effective. Items such as masks and N95 respirators need to be manufactured and packed in clean rooms. They are made out of multiple layers of medical-grade material.

The facility is currently working to obtain the materials required to make safe, usable garments and should be ready to manufacture them soon. They have orders pending from some of the largest hospital chains in the state as well as first responders.  

“FABRIC was designed to be nimble and to help people manufacture what is most needed by a community, and to help designers succeed. We are proud to be able to help our medical professionals in this time of urgent need,” said FABRIC cofounder Sherri Barry.

Want information? Reach out to, 602-743-4638


College students. If you’ve moved from your typical location because of college shutdowns, we can help you figure out where to be counted. Fill out the census online and use the address where you live during the school year. Don’t worry if you think some else has done it for you. The US Census Bureau has ways of figuring out duplications. The census is important, it’s a once-a-decade count that impacts federal funds coming to our city and state. Please take part. Go to or watch the video.

National Guard

You may see an increase of National Guard vehicles on the road. As called upon by Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, the National Guard is acting in a supportive role to various grocery chains to help with the logistics of transporting and handling increased demand on stocking. The movement is to support local employees who are already working hard to keep the shelves stocked in our local stores.  Many grocery stores are hiring right now. Please check store websites for hiring details.  

Shopping for seniors
Many retailers are offering senior shopping hours. Here's some information that's been provided to us for senior shopping hours. If you are unable to go shopping, the Area Agency on Aging operates the Arizona senior helpline and can arrange grocery delivery for you. Please call 602-264-4357.

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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