Close-up of stethoscope and folder on background of doctors at work

On March 25, Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order updating COVID-19 virus safety and mitigation mandates. The Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce is enthusiastic and hopeful to safely exit the pandemic; however, there are several unknowns and other issues that continue to need attention.

It will take several weeks for the effects of the state’s changes in virus prevention procedures to become visible. The evidence for this will be in the virus statistics reported by the Arizona Department of Health.

For now, the Southwest Valley Chamber will maintain the status quo requiring masks, social distancing and other prevention measures to ensure the safety of members, staff and guests. The chamber will continue to provide outstanding service to our businesses, community and visitors.

We urge the state legislators to support and pass SB 1377 (Civil liability; Public Health Pandemic). This bill is to protect Arizona businesses, schools, health care providers, government agencies and others from frivolous COVID-19 lawsuits. We ask Gov. Ducey to sign the bill when it arrives on his desk.

Gov. Ducey’s executive order included a section that reverses mitigation action by counties, cities and towns. The order also prevents the same governmental entities from enforcing some virus prevention mandates.

While there is a rationale having rules applied equally to everyone, there are situations when the elected officials closer to the issue have more knowledge and better decision-making ability.

The Southwest Valley Chamber of Commerce stands with our local governments to support their position and the actions they take to keep their residents physically and mentally safe and to maintain a stable economy while continuing to recognize the rights of individuals.

To residents and visitors, I ask you to be courteous to each other. Many will continue to wear masks and continue social distancing. Many will choose not to wear a mask. Businesses, which are responsible for their employees and customers, can determine their own mask and other requirements for entry. The decision whether or not to receive the vaccine is also a personal decision. Please respect the choice of the other person just as you would like them to respect your choices.

As we have been doing for the past year, the Southwest Valley Chamber will continue to monitor whether the virus situation improves, stays the same or worsens.

We thank our chamber members, our partners and community for their continued support.