As COVID-19 cases surge nationwide, this week leaders in Tucson passed a mandatory curfew from 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. that will remain in effect Dec. 4-23. Gov. Doug Ducey also announced that an impending vaccine for the disease will be free to all Arizonans. The state’s current outbreak traces back to September and has only gotten worse. To flatten the curve, the University of Arizona’s COVID-19 modeling team has recommended a new stay-at-home order. We spoke to Dr. Joe Gerald, a researcher with the team, about what current trends indicate about the severity of the coronavirus crisis.
This week, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero delivered her State of the City address where she underscored the pandemic’s health and economic impacts, along with efforts to help those affected most. We discussed the city’s approach and ongoing needs facing small businesses and nonprofits with Amber Smith, president of the Tucson Metro Chamber.
Now several months into the pandemic, economists at the University of Arizona report in their most recent forecast that Arizona is on a slow trajectory toward recovery. We got insight from economist George Hammond, who authored the latest report. Hammond also discussed the impact CARES Act funds had toward keeping the state’s economy afloat.
The holiday shopping season serves as a mainstay of the retail industry that has had to adapt to the pandemic over the year. We saw those adjustments in effect at CULTIVATE Tucson, a pop-up marketplace that has traditionally brought dozens of local vendors and hundreds of potential buyers together for a one-day event. Changes this year include a scaled-down setup at the MSA Annex and stretching the event from a single day to six weeks. You can learn more about this year’s CULTIVATE here.
Politics in Arizona made national headlines this week with the swearing in of Democratic U.S. Sen. Mark Kelly, who successfully flipped the seat formerly held by the late Sen. John McCain from red to blue. Gov. Doug Ducey also certified the election results at a ceremony on the same day Trump campaign lawyer Rudy Giuliani held a meeting with Republican state legislators in Phoenix where he made claims about voter fraud. For analysis on the week’s events, we turned to Arizona Capitol Times editor Luige del Puerto.