Arizona Gov. Ducey activates National Guard amid coronavirus pandemic

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced Thursday afternoon that the state's National Guard has been activated due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

According to a statement released by the Governor's Office, the National Guard is being activated to assist grocery stores and food banks with restocking shelves, due to heightened demand.

In addition, Gov. Ducey announced he has signed an Executive Order that halts all elective surgeries in the state, in order to free up medical resources and maintain the capacity for hospital and providers to continue offering vital services.

Gov. Ducey also announced that restaurants in Arizona counties with confirmed coronavirus cases can only provide take-out dining options, and that all bars in those counties will close. In addition, restaurants will be allowed to deliver alcoholic beverages with the purchase of food. Manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers can also buy back unopened products from restaurants, bars, and clubs.

Expiration dates for Arizona driver licenses are also delayed. Gov. Ducey said that ensures residents over the age of 65 will not need to visit the Motor Vehicle Division offices to renew their driver licenses during a public health emergency.

Currently, there are confirmed or presumptive positive cases of COVID-19 in Coconino, Graham, Maricopa, Navajo, Pima, and Pinal Counties.

Ducey had for days recommended that people avoid crowds but stopped short of a statewide mandate for businesses to close or people to stay home. Tempe — a nightlife hotspot — on Thursday joined cities including Phoenix, Tucson, Flagstaff and Sedona that have ordered bars and gyms to close while restaurants offer only takeout or drive-thru service.

Ducey’s delay in acting had echoes of his foot-dragging on closing schools. The second-term governor took that action last Sunday after school district officials across metro Phoenix had ignored his calls from the week before not to close schools to stop the spread of the virus.

“Maybe today is the day we can convince @dougducey to take action and enforce the new WH/CDC guidelines to keep Arizonans safe and save lives. Please help,” Democratic Sen. Kyrsten Sinema wrote on Twitter Thursday morning.

She followed up minutes after Ducey’s announcement: “Turns out, Arizona — today IS the day!!” But she called for Ducey to go farther and expand the business closures statewide.

Business owner reacts to Gov. Ducey's announcement

A longtime business owner in Phoenix said Thursday he is relieved that Gov. Ducey has finally acted.

"I'm not a Phoenician. I’m an American," said John Santisi, Owner of Santisi Brothers Pizzeria & Sports Grill in Phoenix. "You cannot have a restaurant in Peoria partying their lights out and everybody being close to each other and doing whatever they’re doing, but then in Phoenix, I have an empty restaurant that I had to lay off my staff."

Santisi said some of his employees are using the time to take off and be with family. He said hours will be offered evenly to staff who live paycheck to paycheck.

"It's not to put any dollar in our pocket. It's just to survive," said Santisi.

Continuing Coverage

FOX 10 is working to keep you up to date with local and national developments on COVID-19. Every weekday on FOX News Now, our live coverage begins at 7 a.m. MST reporting the latest news, prevention tips and treatment information.

You can watch live in your FOX 10 News app or on the FOX 10 Facebook page.

Get the latest coronavirus news by downloading the FOX 10 News App. Our promise is that our alerts are there to inform you - not scare you.

On, you'll find extensive coverage about COVID-19, including breaking news from around the country, exclusive interviews with health officials, and informative content from a variety of public health resources.

COVID-19 Symptoms

Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

Right now there's one big difference between flu and coronavirus: A vaccine exists to help prevent the flu and it's not too late to get it. It won't protect you from catching the coronavirus, but may put you in a better position to fight it.

To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.

Additional resources

Coronavirus (COVID-19)
How it spreads, symptoms, prevention, treatment, FAQ (In Spanish/En Español)

Arizona COVID-19 Response
Public resources, FAQ, webinars

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The Associated Press contributed to this report.