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Tempe mayor orders closures of bars, restaurants, movie theaters, gyms

To help small businesses that have been impacted by COVID-19, the Small Business Administration approved loans for Arizona

Mark Mitchell

Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell speaks in this undated file photo.

Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell issued a proclamation today ordering the closure of all gyms, fitness centers, workout studios, movie theaters, dine-in restaurants and bars. 

Mitchell said that he issued the proclamation because he is "working proactively to keep our community safe."

The announcement comes a day after Tempe City Council issued a citywide emergency to address the spread of COVID-19, or the novel coronavirus. That declaration gave Mitchell the power to enact emergency response measures through proclamations if needed. 

"Again, this decision comes with a heavy heart for those affected in our community, but I know this is the right decision because safety and stemming the spread of coronavirus is our number one priority," he said in the statement.

Mitchell's proclamation now requires gyms and fitness centers to close by 1 p.m. this afternoon. Movie theaters, restaurants and bars have to close by 8 p.m., though restaurants can remain open for curbside pick-up and delivery.

Today, in an effort to help small businesses in Arizona that have been impacted by COVID-19, the Small Business Administration approved an Economic Injury Disaster Loan for the state. Earlier this week, Gov. Doug Ducey submitted a request to the federal government for economic assistance in Arizona.

The Arizona Department of health services reported there were 44 cases of the coronavirus in Arizona on Thursday, up from 27 on Wednesday.

Mitchell issued a statement Wednesday evening, saying that he had not "ordered the closure of bars or the transition of restaurants to drive-through or curbside pickup."

However, he said that dining in "any establishments" was discouraged and that residents should "stay home as much as possible" and distance themselves from one another to mitigate the spread of the virus. 

Phoenix, Gilbert, Mesa and Buckeye have also issued states of emergency this week.

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