Phoenix City Council declares local emergency during special Friday meeting

Days after Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego announced a state of emergency in response to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, members of the Phoenix City Council approved a substitute motion to declare a local emergency instead.

The vote on Friday was held following a vote to continue the discussion on Wednesday. A vote to confirm the emergency declaration is reportedly required under City Code.

Mayor Gallego declared a state of emergency on March 17, which orders the immediate closure of bars and ordering restaurants to move to a delivery/takeout/drive-thru model, starting at 8:00 p.m. that same day.

FOX 10's Brian Webb covered the vote on Friday, and said all council members agreed publicly that this is a crisis, following an executive session that lasted three hours.

According to the City of Phoenix's website, a substitute motion was made by Vice Mayor Betty Guardado, which was seconded by Councilmember Michael Nowakowski, to declare a local emergency and preserve the right for the mayor to declare a great emergency in the future, should circumstances warrant it. The substitute motion was approved.

DiCiccio once voiced opposition

Mayor Gallego's decision to declare an emergency was met with opposition from Phoenix City Councilmember Sal DiCiccio prior to Friday.

On his Twitter page on March 17, DiCiccio publicly declared his opposition, claiming that with a declaration of a "great emergency" instead of a "local emergency", Gallego will have "unlimited power to rule the City of Phoenix by proclamation for however so long she chooses," with the council having no recourse to rescind or question her actions.

"This is nothing short of martial law, and there is absolutely no way I can or ever will support such a measure," DiCiccio tweeted.

DiCiccio, however, did say he supports "reasonable precautions for businesses and individuals during this crisis."

DiCiccio represents District 6 in Phoenix City Council, which covers Ahwatukee and a portion of Phoenix near Paradise Valley.

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.

Additional resources

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

Arizona COVID-19 Response - Public resources, FAQ, webinars

Related stories

Coronavirus in Arizona: Latest case numbers

Coronavirus: Symptoms, testing and how to prepare amid growing COVID-19 outbreak 

How coronavirus differs from flu: Symptoms to watch for

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

Does wearing a face mask protect you from coronavirus and other infectious diseases?

Should you cancel your trip? CDC urges travelers to avoid several countries impacted by coronavirus

Coronavirus more contagious than SARS or MERS, can live on surfaces for up to 9 days, studies say

Cleaning tips to keep your workspace safe amid coronavirus worries

Coronavirus: What to do if you’re told to self-quarantine