Casa Grande, AZ (December 4, 2020) – This week, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey launched additional measures against the rippling effects of COVID-19. In his latest round of Executive Orders (EO), Ducey shored up financial support for hospital staffing, eased regulations on outdoor dining, clamped down on large public events and prioritized access to vaccine distribution for residents at no cost.

HOSPITALS:
Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) is now working to position an extra 500 nurses at hospitals in need. City Mayor Craig McFarland of Casa Grande expressed support for the statewide relief and $60 million more in funding.

“As COVID-19 caseload and hospitalizations continue to mount, it becomes imperative that extra dollars are made available to ease the strain on our local healthcare system and staff as much as possible,” McFarland stated.

RESTAURANTS:
Outdoor seating offers less risk of virus spread for restaurant patrons looking to eat onsite, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. As winter takes hold, this preferred practice becomes more challenging for local eateries. EO-2020-60 allows cities to approve a temporary extension of outdoor dining spaces into easements and other approved areas to accommodate safer physical distancing between tables.

a.  AZSAFE+Clean Certification:
A $100,000 allotment to the Arizona Lodging and Tourism Association (AzLTA) offers a way for hotels, resorts and restaurants to obtain a cooperative membership grant. Through AzLTA membership, businesses can participate in and receive AZSAFE+Clean Certification (checklist), an elevated designation that offers sanitation expertise to help them refine practices at their establishments to build greater confidence in their guests, before and during their stay.

b.  Safest Outside Restaurant Assistance Program:
$1 million is available to assist restaurants in expanding their outdoor dining footprint for customers. Restaurants can apply for up to $10,000 per business to fund their outdoor furniture, barriers, patio heaters, patio covers and more. According to the Governor’s press release:

“Funding will be distributed on a first-come, first-served basis for eligible businesses that have been approved for an extension of premises. To be eligible, applicants must comply with all COVID-19 related Executive Orders; demonstrate a new extension of premises that has been approved by the local governing body and the Arizona Department of Liquor, if applicable; plan to extend the premises for a minimum of three months; must have fewer than 50 employees; must be Arizona-owned and operated and more. Additional requirements will be listed on the application. The application will open on Monday, December 7...”

For businesses that need help with local and State permitting processes, the Arizona Restaurant Association (ARA) will provide guidance and even review applications before submission. Casa Grande businesses that wish to serve alcohol on expanded premises must file an Arizona Department of Liquor License and Control, application for Extension of Premises/Patio Permit with the City Clerk's Office for review and approval prior to submittal the State Liquor Board. To serve food and/or non-alcohol related activity in any expanded outdoor areas, businesses should submit a Temporary Use Application to the City Development Center for an expedited administrative review.

MITIGATION PLANS FOR LARGE PUBLIC EVENTS:
Local public event organizers expecting more than 50 persons must now seek prior approval through the City. According to EO 2020-59, organizers must present a mitigation plan that documents and ensures “adequate safety precautions consistent with guidance issued by both the CDC and ADHS are in place.” The event organizer must commit to implementing and enforcing these precautions. Contingent on approval, the City will submit the plans to ADHS, post them on the City website as well as enforce them.

FREE COVID-19 VACCINATION:
EO 2020-58 creates the environment for all residents to access and receive the COVID-19 vaccine for free. Co-insurance costs and copays for in-network and out-of-network vaccinations will be waived. According to Ducey, doses begin arriving in Arizona this month with prioritization given to “health care workers, residents of long-term care facilities, educators and vulnerable populations.” Take a look at the ADHS Draft Vaccination Plan.

To learn more, visit azGovernor.gov or watch Dr. Cara Christ, Director and Chief Medical Officer of ADHS, as she explains the latest on COVID-19. Additional Casa Grande small business resources and COVID-19 community assistance remains available online. #MaskUPCG!

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Founded in 1879, the mission of the City of Casa Grande is to provide a safe, pleasant community for all citizens. With a growing population of over 56,000, it is a city with amazing people and historic charm that can only be found in a small town. Still, it offers modern amenities and a broad range of recreation facilities and activities for residents of all ages that are available year-round.