The following proclamation was issued Friday by benson Mayor Toney D. King, Sr.:

WHEREAS, on March 11, 2020, the Governor of the State of Arizona, Douglas A. Ducey, determined that the COVID-19 outbreak presents conditions in the State of Arizona that justify declaring a State of Emergency; and

WHEREAS, on March 13, 2020, the President of the United States of America, Donald J. Trump, found and proclaimed that the COVID-19 outbreak in the United States constituted a national emergency; and

WHEREAS, on March 15, 2020, the Governor of the State of Arizona, Douglas A. Ducey and School Superintendent Kathy Hoffman announced a statewide closure of Arizona Schools from Monday March 16, 202 through Friday March 27, 2020; and

WHEREAS, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and their state and local counterparts, in accordance with guidance for large events and mass gatherings, recommend that at this time and for about the next eight weeks, in-person events consisting of more than ten people be canceled or postponed in an effort to control the COVID-19 outbreak; and

WHEREAS, on March 19, 2020 the Governor of the State of Arizona, Douglas A. Ducey bolstered his prior declaration of a State of Emergency by ordering – amongst other things, the closure of all bars, gyms, and movie theaters in an county with confirmed cases of COVID-19; and

WHEREAS, the City of Benson is aware of all declarations or proclamations of emergency issued to date by President Trump, Governor Ducey, and the leaders of Arizona counties, cities, and towns; and

WHEREAS, the City of Benson wishes to do all it can to protect its citizens; and out of an abundance of caution will continue to plan and prepare for event and facility closures, modified staffing plans, work-from-home programs, and enhanced communications to its citizens to ensure effective continuity of operations of essential government functions; and

WHEREAS, Mayor Toney D. King, Sr. encourages the greater Benson community to follow the guidelines provided by the CDC, the President of the United States, and state and local officials, and is hopeful that through vigilant compliance, we can reduce the risk of our residents contracting and spreading the COVID-19 virus.

NOW, THEREFORE, pursuant to A.R.S. § 26-307 A.R.S. § 26-311, and Benson City Code 2-2-3(F), the elements of which are met under the above described circumstances, the Mayor of the City of Benson, Toney D. King, Sr., declares a local emergency in the City of Benson, Arizona.

IT IS PROCLAIMED AND ORDERED in order to flatten the curve of the spread of the COVID-19 virus, to ensure area hospitals can treat all affected patients, and to maximize available funding to the City and to area businesses that may be affected by the pandemic, as follows:

1. Restaurants, cafes, coffeehouses and other similar businesses and establishments are strongly advised to take measures to implement social distancing, and instead rely on the use of delivery service, curbside-service, or drive-through service, and to use other appropriate precautions so as to mitigate the potential transmission of COVID-19; and

2. Public gathering places where groups in excess of ten congregate, are strongly advised to take measures to implement social distancing; and

3. Members of the public are urged to follow the guidelines of the CDC and state and regional health agencies to reduce the risk of contracting or spreading COVID-19 to themselves, their loved ones, or members of the public such as the following measures:

a. Employing social distancing and avoiding groups of ten or more people; and

b. Avoiding contact with those with elevated risks associated with COVID-19; and

c. Staying home and contacting a medical provider if you or others in your household feel sick; and

d. Staying home and away from other people if you are an older person and/or you have a serious underlying condition that can put you at increased risk; and

e. Practicing good personal hygiene, as recommended by the CDC and Cochise County Health Department.

4. The Mayor and Council will at this time continue to govern, but the Mayor may impose by Proclamation procedural modifications for City Meetings, or meeting cancellations, that may be enacted for the good of the public until the emergency is abated, and will communicate those changes to the public. At this time, members of the public will not be allowed to physically attend City meeting, except those members of the public that are employed by the City of Benson, or that have an item on the agenda for consideration that directly affects property they own. The public will be allowed to, and is strongly encouraged to, observe and/or listen to these meetings by computer and/or phone. The City Manager is authorized to take all necessary and reasonable steps to allow public attendance and, where appropriate, participation in City meetings by these means. The City Manager will timely post notice to the public, in the same way that notice of City meetings is posted to the public, about how the public can observe, listen to and, where appropriate, participate in City meetings.

5. City staff is directed, and the City Manager is hereby authorized, in consultation with the Cochise County Health Department, to take any and all actions as necessary to combat this emergency; and

6. These emergency regulations shall remain in full force and effect until such time as the emergency declared herein abates and is withdrawn, or a subsequent Proclamation is issued with amendments.

7. In accordance with ARS 26-307 (B), this proclamation shall be effective when a copy is filed in the office of the City Clerk. All existing laws and rules in conflict of the same are hereby suspended during the time and to the extent that they conflict.

Dated this 20th day of March 2020

Please look for updates on the City of Benson's website: cityofbenson.com

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