Curfew closes Gilbert meetings to public; no protests seen in town

Gilbert Public Safety
The Gilbert Police Department will be enforcing Gov. Doug Ducey's statewide curfew in town. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Gilbert Police Department will be enforcing Gov. Doug Ducey's statewide curfew in town. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

The Gilbert Town Council meeting for June 2 will still take place but remain closed to the public, with several items tabled, as part of the town’s response to the statewide curfew, town officials said.

The curfew also affects programming items in the coming week.

Gov. Doug Ducey on May 31 issued a statewide Declaration of Emergency, which included putting in place a curfew from 8 p.m.-5 a.m. May 31 through June 8 in response to protests, some turning violent, across the nation of George Floyd’s death while in police custody in Minneapolis.

“In order to comply with the governor’s curfew order, we’ve worked with staff across the organization from the police department to parks and recreation and the mayor to ensure that we are doing everything we can to make safety in Gilbert our priority,” Gilbert Town Manager Patrick Banger said through email.

Public meetings

Gilbert public meetings had been closed since mid-March because of the coronavirus pandemic, with the public invited to watch and participate through remote conferencing. The meetings were scheduled to be reopened this week as part of phase two of reopenings until the curfew declaration intervened.

Meetings affected by this week’s curfew include Town Council on June 2 and the Gilbert Planning Commission on June 3. The public can still view the meetings online at or on Cox Cable Channel 11.

The council items being tabled include the 2021-30 Capital Improvement Plan, the secondary property tax levy and the final budget for Fiscal Year 2020-21. The items now will be taken up June 16.

Programming effects

Other programs, mostly through Parks and Recreation, also will be affected this week. This includes:

  • The SanTan Drive-In Movie events June 5-6 are canceled. Refunds have been processed.

  • The Heritage District parking garages will close overnight starting at 8 p.m.

  • Gilbert parks, Freestone Recreation Center, McQueen Park Activity Center and Cactus Yards will close at 7 p.m.

  • Adult Softball League at Freestone Park will be canceled this week.

  • The Southeast Regional Library will close at 5 p.m.

  • All rentals—fields, courts, ramadas, rooms, open spaces, camp sites—will not run past 7 p.m. Users will be notified.

No protests in Gilbert

While Arizona has seen some protests, Gilbert has not. Social media rumors of coming protests in town proved unfounded on the curfew’s first night May 31.

The Gilbert Police Department issued a statement May 31 saying it was fully staffed and ready to respond if issues arose.

“We are monitoring the messages being posted for potential protests/riots, and we appreciate the community keeping us updated with anything they are seeing as well,” the statement read. “At this time, there is no confirmed information for any organized gatherings in Gilbert, however, we are taking proactive measures to have additional staffing in place should it be needed.”

Gilbert Police Department spokesperson Brenda Carrasco said officers will patrol throughout the town June 1 with close attention paid to the Heritage District and SanTan Village.
By Tom Blodgett

Editor, Gilbert

Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent more than 30 years in journalism in Arizona and joined Community Impact Newspaper in July 2018 to launch the Gilbert edition. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he served as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication from 2005-19 and remains editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.