Ducey announced that the order will take effect at at 5 p.m. Tuesday for all activity that is not essential, and will be in place until April 30, unless an extension is issued.
“The time for further action is now,” Ducey said. “Stay home, stay healthy, and stay connected.”
Under the stay-at-home order, people are asked to leave their homes for essential reasons only. Grocery stores, pharmacies, and other essential services will remain open, while restaurants will continue offering takeout service only.
People will not be prevented from going to medical appointments or seeking other essential services, Ducey said. He added that people are still allowed to go outside, given they practice “physical distancing.”
“We do not want people to feel trapped or isolated in their homes,” he said. “The weather is beautiful right now. Find a way to get out and enjoy it—with physical distancing.”
Ducey said the measure was implemented after Arizona’s top health official said it was necessary to slow the spread of the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus, commonly known as the novel coronavirus.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services, the state has recorded 1,157 confirmed cases of the virus, with the most affected age group being between 20 to 40 years of age. A total of 20 patients have succumbed to the respiratory virus in the state.
Nationwide, there are 164,274 confirmed CCP virus cases as of press time, and over 3,000 deaths, according to a tracking map published by Johns Hopkins University.
Ducey imposed the order after holding off for weeks. It came after the mayors of nine cities—including Phoenix and Tucson—sent a letter earlier on Monday urging him to do so.
#COVID19 cases are on the rise in AZ—we need to act NOW. I’ve joined with Mayors from across the state asking @dougducey to immediately issue a #ShelterInPlace order to protect the lives of Arizonans. We must all #StayAtHome to #StopTheSpread. pic.twitter.com/enepewWK9T
— Mayor Kate Gallego (@MayorGallego) March 30, 2020
People caught violating the order could be charged with a misdemeanor, but only after police warn them and provide an opportunity to comply.
“Across the state, Arizonans are doing their part,” Ducey said. “Arizonans are staying home because it’s the right thing to do.”
Just hours before the announcement, the governor said that schools in the state will be closed for the rest of the academic year.
Ducey and Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman cited the White House on Sunday extending social distancing guidelines until April 30.
“Today’s announcement is intended to give parents and educators as much certainty as possible so they can plan and make decisions,” Ducey and Hoffman said in a statement.
Schools in the state were previously closed through April 10. They were first shut down on March 16.
Arizona’s announcement affects public schools. Private schools must remain closed until at least April 30, as per the federal guidelines. School leaders can wait until then to see what happens or announce closures through the end of the school year to mirror public schools.
Zachary Stieber and The Associated Press contributed to this report.