‘Stay at home:’ Here are the facts

Once Gov. Ducey’s executive order goes into effect at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 31st, Arizonans will be required to limit the time they spend away from home as much as possible. — Wrangler News photo

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By Noah Kutz

Governor Ducey’s executive order to ‘Stay home, stay healthy, stay connected’ will come into effect for all individuals in Arizona at 5:00 p.m. on March 31st, and will remain in effect for the entire month of April.

This proclamation comes in response to President Trump’s extended guidelines for COVID-19 prevention and social distancing, as well as other states’ decisions to issue stay-at-home orders. Governor Ducey’s guidelines, however, are different from those seen in places like California or New York.

Ducey writes, “This builds on actions the state has already taken, and further memorializes some already in effect, to slow the spread of COVID-19 and to protect our citizens.”

In this executive order, Arizonans are required to limit their time away from home, but are permitted to continue working in essential businesses and are encouraged to participate in essential activities — so long as they practice proper physical distancing.

In continuing its efforts to provide Tempe and West Chandler communities with the most accurate information pertaining to them, Wrangler News has compiled a short list of frequently-asked questions with hopes of providing consolation and clarification:


  • What is defined as “physical distancing?”
    • When conducting any activity listed below, all individuals must remain at least 6 feet away from each other.
  • What are essential activities?
    • Obtaining necessary supplies and services for yourself and family (pets too); engaging in activities essential for health and safety such as medical and emergency services; caring for a family member or friend in another residence; engaging in outdoor exercise; conducting work in essential activities; engaging in constitutionally protected activities (speech and religion, for example).
  • Am I still permitted to go shopping at grocery stores and other places?
    • Yes, grocery stores and pharmacies are permitted to remain open, as well as certified farmers’ markets and farm/produce stands. All establishments must implement sanitation and social-distancing procedures if they choose to remain open. Many grocery stores have adjusted their store hours in order to provide safe shopping spaces for seniors and to compensate for the influx of shoppers. Fry’s Food, for example, will open at 6:00 a.m. for anyone 60 years or older Monday through Thursday, and 7:00 a.m. for the general public.
  • Which places are considered “essential?”
    • Stores and pharmacies; food, beverage and agricultural production; outdoor recreation activities (see statement from Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell below); organizations that provide charitable and social services; media; financial institutions; hardware and supply stores; critical trades (building, construction and similar/related trades); mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery and pick-up services; educational institutions (click here for Gov. Ducey’s and Superintendent Hoffman’s decision on education); laundry services; restaurants for consumption off-premises; supplies to work from home; transportation; residential facilities and shelters; professional and personal services; day care centers for employees exempted by this executive order; manufacture, distribution and supply chain for critical products and industries; hotels and motels; funeral services.

Note: Each of these places that remain open will be required to implement precautionary measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19. For a detailed list of these essential services visit Governor Ducey’s website here.

  • I’m a small business owner, what does this mean for me?
    • Non-essential businesses may continue operations so long as they do not require in-person and on-site transactions. In sub-section “d” of the list of exemptions in the executive order, Ducey writes that all Arizonans must limit their time away from home except, “Employment, if as a sole proprietor or family-owned business, work is conducted in a separate office space from your home and the business is not open to serve the public.”
  • Will I be cited for going out in public?
    • Prior to any enforcement action being taken, if you are found guilty of violating this executive order (not practicing physical distancing while conducting outdoor exercise, for example), you will be notified and permitted to comply. If you do not comply, authorities have the right to issue a class 1 misdemeanor.
  • What about public transportation?
    • You may utilize public transportation if it is an absolute necessity and is in accordance with the essential functions listed above. As always, physical distancing is required.
  • How does this pertain to the homeless population?
    • Those who are experiencing homelessness “are exempt from this directive,” says Ducey, but are urged to seek shelter wherever they can.


For Tempe residents, a statement from Mayor Mark Mitchell declares that all city park amenities, not including restrooms and water fountains, will be closed in order to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

This includes: playground equipment; exercise and fitness stations, sports courts (tennis, pickleball, basketball and volleyball); ramadas, picnic tables and benches; dog parks; bike and skate parks; splash pads.

In compliance with Gov. Ducey’s directive, which encourages the use of golf courses, Ken McDonald and Rolling Hills golf clubs will remain open with the exception of closing pro shops and restaurants and expanding cart rentals to one per person. Boat rentals at Tempe Beach and Kiwanis parks will remain closed.

Governor Ducey’s full executive order:


List of essential businesses and services:


City of Tempe:




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