By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times
A new executive order by Gov. Doug Ducey on “essential services” appears less designed to empower him to force people to stay home than to preclude Arizona cities from once again getting out in front of him on actions to slow the spread of COVID-19.
When the governor announced the order on Monday he said he did not intend to issue stay-at-home orders “at this time.” Instead he described it as a move to “provide clarity” so that “people in these situations can plan ahead.”
But the actual verbiage of the order — not made available until after Ducey’s press conference — paints a far different picture, forbidding any county, city or town from making “any order, rule or regulation” that prohibits anyone from performing any function that he, his health department or his Division of Emergency Management designated as an “essential function” during the pandemic public health emergency.
And to drive home the point, it says that any order by a local government restricting people from leaving their home during the emergency “shall be consistent with advice from the Arizona Department of Health Services. It also says that any order must be “coordinated with the state prior to issuance.”