Elbow bump

Mayor Christian Price and Councilman Rich Vitiello share an "elbow bump" during the groundbreaking ceremony for the new public library on Saturday.

MARICOPA — Titled “Fifteen Days To Make a Difference,” the city of Maricopa sent out new community guidelines on Tuesday to help advise residents on how to stay safe and virus free as COVID-19 descends on Pinal County and the rest of the state.

First on the list of city announcements was the cancellation of all programs, events and activities in public parks, community centers and gathering spaces as social distancing is encouraged. However, “Copper Sky Multigenerational Center and city parks will remain open for general use and outdoor sports will continue as we encourage residents to stay active while practicing social distancing,” says the city press release.

Day camps that provide relief to working parents will remain open for the time being, but campers will be sectioned into smaller groups of 10 children or less. The city warns these programs will only remain operational for as long as the city can guarantee the health and safety of children and staff members.

Meanwhile, City Hall will remain open. However, most meetings will be postponed or canceled, with the exceptions of City Council and Planning and Zoning meetings, which will continue with modifications according to city statute.

On that note, the city asks that residents “try to conduct any business you have with the city via electronic format whenever possible versus coming in-person.”

Maricopa fire and police are maintaining their regular schedules and are implementing infectious disease protocols. Schools and health centers are following the same stringent city rules and are working with the city to prepare for inundation of patients as well.

Among guidelines for what to do if you are sick — staying home being No. 1 — the city also recommends practicing general hygiene and limiting gatherings to groups of 10 or less.

On Wednesday morning, the city of Maricopa published an additional recommendation to Facebook regarding businesses.

“The Arizona Department of Health Services strongly recommends that dining establishments in areas of known community spread (including Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties) discourage dine-in traffic and instead provide curbside pickup or drive-through service,” the city said in a Facebook post.

If there is no choice but to remain open to dine-in customers, the city also recommends that restaurants practice social distancing inside for both customers and staff to avoid spreading the virus.

Above all, the city said residents of Maricopa should listen to and follow the directions of federal and state authorities. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Arizona Department of Health Services and the Pinal County Department of Public Health Services are all recommended sources of information.

As the city and the world react to this pandemic, the city shared a message of persistence.

“The City of Maricopa is known as a caring, strong and resilient community,” the city writes in an email. “Putting others first is demonstrated on a daily basis. People care and so do your City workers who remain committed to serve. City leadership and its community partners remain engaged and work daily to maintain public health and safety while balancing real life needs. We stand at the ready to meet the evolving challenges resulting from Novel Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19). It is incumbent upon all of us to do our part.”

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Katie Sawyer covers Maricopa and the surrounding area for PinalCentral, including city, education, business, crime and more. She can be reached at ksawyer@pinalcentral.com.

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