TUCSON, Ariz. - At the urging of Mayor Regina Romero, the Tucson City Council voted Tuesday night to establish a mandatory nightly curfew for three weeks in an attempt to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The 10 p.m.-to-5 a.m. curfew will take effect Friday and run through Dec. 23. Romero says she sought the curfew “for the safety and welfare and health of the citizens of Tucson.”
It prohibits residents from being on public streets or spaces unless traveling to work or other essential activities.
Exempt from the curfew are public safety personnel, health-care professionals, essential workers and the homeless.
Pima County reported had a record-high 944 new coronavirus cases Tuesday, and hospitals in southern Arizona are on the verge of a crisis, Romero said.
Arizona, along with most of the rest of the country, has seen hospitals fill up as the coronavirus spreads with new ferocity since September.
Earlier Tuesday, state health officials reported 10,322 new known coronavirus cases and 48 additional deaths. That pushed Arizona’s totals to 337,139 cases and 6,687 known deaths since the pandemic began.
The number of actual infections is thought to be far higher than the confirmed numbers because many people don’t get tested.
Authorities said Arizona’s record number of cases — nearly three times the latest seven-day daily rolling average — reflected the current surge and delayed reporting by local health officials because of the extended four-day Thanksgiving holiday weekend.
Holiday travel and gatherings are expected to increase cases and related hospitalizations in the next few weeks.
Pima County, which includes Tucson, has had about 40,000 confirmed cases and nearly 700 deaths since the pandemic began.
Romero and other Democratic mayors around Arizona have repeatedly feuded with Republican Gov. Doug Ducey and pushed him to enact tougher measures to contain the spread of the virus.
Ducey has resisted a statewide mask mandate, although he did loosen his executive order to allow local governments to impose their own face-covering requirements as cases surged over the summer.