Gov. Doug Ducey extended the state’s eviction moratorium and announced an additional $5 million for renters and measures to prevent foreclosure as the state continues to grapple with unemployment and housing problems caused by COVID-19.
“Today’s plan protects families and individuals impacted by COVID-19 while empowering them to keep making rent payments,” Ducey told a news conference Thursday. “We’ll continue working with our partners at the county and local levels to make resources and assistance available for all those impacted by COVID-19.”
Housing advocates this week had raised the alarm that with the moratorium slated to end July 25, many Arizonans were in danger of losing housing or facing hardship, the Arizona Daily Star reported.
The second-term Republican governor voiced optimism about the latest numbers in Arizona, stating that the percentage of positive tests is trending downward.
“Much of this gives us reason to be very cautious, but to have some hope and optimism about what is possible in the very near future in the state of Arizona,” he said.
Ducey also said he will speak to school officials and make an announcement next week about reopening plans, working in tandem with State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman. Hoffman this week told Cronkite News that the proposed Aug. 17 start date may not be realistic.
“Arizona will be open for learning,” Ducey said, “we’ve put a date out there about five weeks away,” He added that he will do his “best to provide the most positive educational year.”
Ducey also stated he would feel comfortable sending his children back to school in August, as did Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.
“Kids are at low risk of transmission and outcomes … I have noticed other detrimental impacts from my kids not being in school,” Christ said at the news conference.
Ducey also announced free cloth masks for medically vulnerable Arizonans and those 65 or older, available through azhealth.gov/ordermasks. Further details were not immediately available.
As of July 16, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported a total of 134,613 cases of COVID-19 and 2,492 total deaths in the state. It said 951,809 tests have been completed in public and private labs in Arizona, and 12.1% have come back positive for the virus that causes the disease.