CORONAVIRUS UPDATES: Chandler officials announce libraries, recreation centers will close through March 31; businesses encouraged to 'run operations responsibly'

The city of Chandler headquarters is in downtown Chandler. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
The city of Chandler headquarters is in downtown Chandler. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)

The city of Chandler headquarters is in downtown Chandler. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)

Updated March 18 5:36 p.m.

Chandler officials announced March 18 libraries and recreation centers in the city will close through March 31.

Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke and the city council authorized changes to public services and the closure of several city facilities due to the risks associated with coronavirus.

  • All Chandler Public Libraries will close to the public beginning March 19 and will remain closed through March 31

  • The following recreation facilities will close to the public beginning March 21 and will remain closed through March 31

    • Four recreation centers: Community Center, Environmental Education Center, Snedigar Recreation Center and Tumbleweed Recreation Center

    • Chandler pools and aquatic centers

    • The Chandler Senior Center will close but will continue to provide carry out or delivery hot meals to senior residents who are dependent on the service

City officials say the closures will be re-evaluated later this month and may be extended.

In a video message posted on social media, Hartke said the city is encouraging businesses to "run their operations responsibly."

"We implore businesses that have gatherings of 10 or more people to operate according to CDC recommendations," Hartke said in the video. "Our business community needs our support now more than ever and I encourage residents to continue patronizing local restaurants by utilizing pickup and drive through options and practicing safe distancing. Let's work together to help flatten the curve."

Hartke said the city will continue to monitor the situation on a daily basis.

Updated March 18 4 p.m. Maricopa County Board of Supervisors proclaims a local emergency

The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chairman Clint Hickman signed a proclamation of a local emergency in Maricopa County March 18, according to a statement from the county. The proclamation of a local emergency will grant the county access to additional resources, according to the statement from the county.

During this local emergency, the chairman of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors will have the authority to impose "all necessary regulations to preserve the peace and order of Maricopa County," according to the county.

“The County is following guidelines set by Arizona Department of Health Services and the Maricopa County Department of Public Health to protect the safety of our community and residents,” Chairman Clint Hickman said in a statement. “This proclamation helps us get funding and supplies to the responders on the front line.”

As of March 18, Maricopa County had 11 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

In addition, Gov. Doug Ducey submitted an application requesting a disaster declaration from the U.S. Small Business Administration due to the coronavirus. If the disaster declaration request is approved, business owners can apply online for disaster loan sssistance through the SBA's application portal.

Updated March 17 8:27 p.m. Gil River Casinos closes properties

Gila River Gaming Enterprises, Inc. announced March 17 it will temporarily close Gila River Hotels & Casinos including Wild Horse Pass, Lone Butte and Vee Quiva. The decision was announced after heightened concern surrounding the coronavirus.

The closure will be begin at all three properties at 4 a.m. March 18 and will be in place for two weeks.

Guests currently staying at hotel properties will be contacted for relocation or refunds, according to a news release.

Updated March 17 10:56 a.m. Arizona Department of Health 'strongly recommends' restaurants discourage dine-in traffic, offers other recommendations

The Arizona Department of Health announced March 17 guidance for restaurants, dining establishments and bars.

"ADHS strongly recommends dining establishments in areas of known community spread discourage dine-in traffic and instead provide curbside pick up/drive through service. Restaurants should establish protocols that allow food delivered to cars," read a tweet from the Arizona Department of Health. "If dine-in options are provided, social distancing measures should be implemented, providing space for customers to be placed at least 6 feet apart, and limiting space for customers to congregate in areas of the restaurant."

Some Chandler restaurants and businesses have already taken precautions in line with this guidance, according to their social media pages.

Updated March 16 4:47 p.m. Here are the latest communications and coronavirus closings in Chandler

  • The city of Chandler has temporarily suspended its passport services starting March 17, with plans to reopen March 27. This service will be reevaluated daily, according to the city.

  • Chandler Center for the Arts announced it would be postponing or rescheduling all events through April 30 due to concerns surrounding the coronavirus and the announcement from the city of Chandler to reduce gatherings of large groups.

  • The grand opening of New Square in downtown Chandler will also be postponed due to the same concern, according to a social media post from the developers of New Square.

  • Chandler Regional Medical Center, a Dignity Health hospital, is limiting visitation restrictions due to COVID-19. Restrictions include:

    • Patient visitation will be limited to the same two adult visitors per patient, per day.

    • Children 12 and younger will not be allowed to visit at this time.

    • Patients who do not have COVID-19, and are not suspected of having COVID-19, but are in respiratory isolation will be limited to one adult visitor per day, with visitation limited to two-hour increments.

    • Patients who have COVID-19, or are suspected of having COVID-19, may not have visitors.

    • Visitors who have had contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient or have recently traveled to any region the CDC has deemed high-risk will not be permitted into the hospital for visitation purposes.

    • Our visiting hours will be from 7 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, with no overnight visitation.

    • The exception to this will be in our maternity area, where a mother’s significant other may stay to learn to care for a new baby.

    • Access into the hospitals will be limited to designated entrance points.

    • All visitors will need to check in and complete a brief screening tool.

Updated March 13 Chandler announces changes in services, events due to coronavirus concern

Chandler City Manager Marsha Reed announced March 13 changes to some public services and the cancellation or postponement of "most" special events on city property through April 30, due to risks associated with the global coronavirus outbreak, according to a news release from the city.

The announcement came hours after President Donald Trump declared a national emergency.

"Today’s actions are an effort to ensure the safety and well-being of Chandler residents, visitors and city staff," read the release. "The goal is to reduce gatherings of large groups and to encourage what officials call 'social distancing' as one method to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in the community."

The changes are effective immediately and will remain in effect through April 30, but city officials will monitor the impact of and need for the restrictions and the schedule may change accordingly.

Special events:

· All special events that are city-sponsored or take place on city of Chandler property are canceled through April 30.

Programs and services:

· Senior Active Adult recreation programs are canceled through April 30.

· Library programs hosted by volunteers are canceled.

Public meetings:

· Meetings that the city is legally obligated to conduct, such as City Council and Planning and Zoning Commission, will be unchanged. All other public meetings are canceled.


· City facilities will remain open to the public, with normal hours of operation (except for the Senior Center) and city staff will continue to provide service to customers.

· Chandler Senior Center will reduce hours of operation to 10 a.m. to 1 p.m.

· All public restrooms in Chandler parks will be closed.

· The city recommends that residents and customers use online services as much as possible