Mayor Jenn Daniels declared a state of emergency in Gilbert on March 16 to ramp up efforts to stem the spread of coronavirus.
Daniels said the move gives the town, by Arizona statute, better access to cleaning and medical supplies as well as the ability to close municipal buildings to the public.
As such, the town is closing its municipal buildings to the public beginning at 4 p.m. March 17. McQueen Park and Freestone Park recreation centers will remain open as dropoff voting locations for the day for the Democratic Party presidential preference election.
Additionally, many town staffers may begin working from home. However, Daniels said town essential services, such as police, fire and utilities, will be unaffected.
Parks and recreation classes will be canceled. Those who signed up can receive refunds of their fees or deposits.
The town previously had canceled senior programming and special events through April 10, but had left other parks and recreation classes open at that point.
The senior center is among the municipal closures. However, meal service through AZCEND at the center to seniors in need will continue either by delivery or pickup at the center, 130 N. Oak Street, Gilbert.
The town also is closing Town Council and Planning Commission meetings to the public, though they will be live streamed from the town website. That includes the special council meeting March 17 to appoint a replacement for Eddie Cook, who resigned Feb. 14 to become Maricopa County assessor.
“We just want to continue to continue to instill faith,” Daniels said. “We have the greatest confidence in our residents and their ability to make sound judgment calls and hope that they will continue, as we've done our best to set a standard, to follow and bring their own good ideas to the table.”
Daniels said she hopes residents will practice good social distancing without allowing themselves to become isolated.
“If you're in need, if you are feeling lonely or fearful or you have anxiety, reach out to someone,” Daniels said. “We want to make sure people understand that human connection is a really important part of our community, and we just need to find some additional ways to access that.”
Daniels urged residents to check on neighbors and look out for another in a video message to residents.
The town is keeping updated information on its website at www.gilbertaz.gov/covid19.