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Surprise’s Face Covering Mandate Lifted
Mayor Skip Hall has signed a proclamation terminating the face covering mandate in Surprise. You can read the full proclamation here.
Please note that based on the Governor’s Executive Order 2021-06, there are some exceptions.
The city retains the right to set and enforce mitigation policies in our city government buildings and on public transportation. Wearing of face coverings/masks is recommended within city facilities, with the exception of Surprise City Court, where they are required.
Per the Governor’s order, private businesses may institute and enforce face covering policies and retain the right to refuse service to those who do not comply with their policies.
Per federal mandate, face coverings are still required while riding public transportation.
Events of 50+ no longer need city approval
With the state of Arizona hitting several important public health benchmarks, Governor Doug Ducey announced several updates to the state’s COVID-19 measures, including on events, businesses and local ordinances.
Several key data points contributed to these changes:
- Mass distribution of the vaccine: 3,041,773 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered to 1,927,278 individuals in Arizona, including 1,185,986 who have been fully vaccinated.
- 10 weeks of declining cases.
- Hospitalizations at the lowest level since the end of September/beginning of October.
- Opening of vaccine appointments to all Arizonans 16 years of age and older.
- A recent evaluation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that ranks Arizona among the best states in the nation for getting the COVID-19 vaccine to vulnerable communities.
- President Biden’s recent promise that every American will be able to be vaccinated by May 1.
Under the changes announced by Governor Ducey:
- Events of more than 50 people will no longer need the approval of local governments. These events should continue to follow safe practices and CDC recommendations, including physical distancing. This includes youth sports.
- The business guidance will transition from requirements to recommendations. Governor Ducey is providing businesses with the ability to continue requiring masks and social distancing.
- Bars have already been allowed to operate as “dine-in” at full capacity. They will now be allowed to resume regular operations, with the ability to require social distancing and masks.
- Unlike some other states, Arizona never issued a statewide mask mandate, and instead encouraged personal responsibility with an aggressive educational campaign — resulting in more widespread mask usage than states with mandates. Some local governments have implemented “mandates,” however, they have rarely, if ever, been enforced. Under this latest action, those local mandates will be phased out. Mask usage is still encouraged, especially in groups that are not vaccinated.
View the Governor’s Executive Order HERE.
City Hall Re-opens/Council Meetings Re-open to In-person Attendance
On Monday, April 12, Surprise City Hall and other city administrative buildings will re-open to the public. Additionally, City Council meetings and all board and commissions meeting will open to in-person attendance effective that date.
COVID Relief Funding
For over a year now, the city of Surprise has been working hard to support residents and businesses impacted by COVID-19.
Our city has been fortunate to receive federal, state and county financial assistance to provide meals, rental/mortgage payments, and utility assistance through our Senior Center and Surprise Resource Center.
Here is a snapshot at how $10.88 million in federal funds has helped our community during the COVID crisis:
The Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program provided billions of dollars in payroll assistance funding for businesses through two rounds of funding.
While these programs have helped, the city identified some funding gaps in meeting certain needs and in some cases, noticed some needs were not being met at all.
On September 1, 2020 and November 2, 2020, the Surprise City Council approved resolutions to support $555,000 for Surprise COVID Community Relief Packages for addressing community and business needs because of the prolonged nature of the pandemic. Utilizing some of our AZ CARES ACT dollars, we were able to allocate $180,000 to address the following human service needs:
The remaining $375,000 supported the Surprise Small Business Relief Grant, disbursed over two rounds:
The city will continue to explore additional needs as we anticipate another round of funding through the American Rescue Plan Act in the future. We have a good plan in place to monitor where the needs are and address as appropriate.
Small businesses are encouraged to review updated COVID business resources available on www.surpriseaz.gov/businesshelp or to reach out to the Surprise Economic Development Department at email@example.com.
Community Resources are available at www.surpriseaz.gov/communitycare, or call the Surprise Resource Center at 623.222.1600.
District 5 Ribbon Cuttings
Lucky House Chinese Cuisine, located at 14291 W. Grand Avenue, opened in Surprise last summer. Recently, they celebrated with a ribbon-cutting and were kind enough to invite Mayor Hall and me to participate. Thank you for allowing us to celebrate with you, and I wish you continued success!
Thank you also to Player One Arcade, located at 17239 N. Litchfield, for inviting Mayor Hall and me to participate in your ribbon cutting celebration! Player 1 Arcade is a family-friendly entertainment business new to Surprise!
Property Maintenance Ordinance
Public comment is being requested for the draft Property Maintenance Ordinance (PMO). This document establishes the minimum standards for all property throughout the city. The goal of the PMO is to keep the City of Surprise safe, healthy, and blight-free. Public comment will be accepted through Sunday, May 2, 2021. If you would like to learn more about the document, please join the public meeting that is scheduled for April 13 at 6 p.m. in the Surprise City Hall Community Room, or view the March 2 Property Maintenance Ordinance Work Session Presentation. To access the public meeting online or to leave a comment on the document, please visit surpriseaz.gov/PMO.
A presentation and vote on the item is scheduled for the June 15, 2021 Regular City Council Meeting. If adopted, the PMO will be effective July 15, 2021.
State of the City Video Premiere
Please tune in on April 13 at 6 p.m. for the 2021 State of the City Video Premiere, live online at surpriseaz.gov/SurpriseTV. The 2021 State of the City will reflect on our community’s resilience and look forward to what’s on the horizon!
Surprise Day of Service Event
If you are looking for a way to give back to your community, please consider volunteering for a Day of Service event. The next Day of Service event is scheduled for April 24 and is the “4th Annual Bean Bag Day” event. In celebration of National Volunteer Week 2021, Seeds of Hope International Ministries has purchased 6,000 pounds of dry pinto beans for this annual event! Participants will help bag bulk pinto beans into individual packaging for distribution through the Valley View Community Food Bank. Register to volunteer during one of four two-hour time slots between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. COVID-19 CDC guidelines will be in place, and masks are required. To volunteer, please call 623.222.1522 or email Larry Garcia at Larry.Garcia@surpriseaz.gov.
The City of Surprise usually hosts a Day of Service each month. If you are not able to participate this time, please visit surpriseaz.gov for information on other opportunities..
Councilmember Aly Cline and I had the opportunity to tour the Ottawa campus and meet with Ottawa’s president, Dennis Tyner, and new Vice President of University Advancement, Todd Simpson. Ottawa University is a great partner for the City of Surprise, and I appreciated having some time to sit down and hear from their leadership.
The Surprise City Council will be participating in a Budget Retreat on April 16, beginning at 9 a.m. in the City Council Chambers. The intent of the retreat is to continue the development of the Fiscal Year 2022 City Manager’s Recommended Budget. The retreat will be open to public attendance and will be televised for public viewing on surpriseaz.gov/surpriseTV, the Surprise City Gov Facebook page at facebook.com/cityofsurprise and Cox channel 11.
New Southwest Gas Customer Information System
Beginning on Monday, May 3, 2021, Southwest Gas is transforming their customer information system to provide an improved customer experience, along with enhanced security. For more information on how this could impact you and the way your account will be serviced, please visit www.swgas.com/new4u.
The Maricopa County Department of Health reports that as of 3/31/2021, almost 1.2 million, adult residents have been vaccinated with at least one dose of COVID-19 vaccine. It further states that Maricopa County residents have received an average of 26-28,000 does of vaccine per day. This information is available and updated frequently on the Maricopa County website at https://www.maricopa.gov/5671/Public-Vaccine-Data.
The graph below, also from the Maricopa County Department of Health website, shows the current case counts of those diagnosed with COVID-19.
Vaccinations are now open to those 16 and older! The Arizona Department of Health Services website has information on finding a vaccination site and registering for a vaccination. Please visit ADHS – Highlighted Infectious Diseases for Arizona – Coronavirus Disease 2019 – Find Vaccine (azdhs.gov).
Covid-19 Testing Locations (AZ Department of Health Services) – https://www.azdhs.gov/preparedness/epidemiology-disease-control/infectious-disease-epidemiology/index.php#novel-coronavirus-testing
Meet and Greet
Please join me for my Monthly Meet and Greet on April 10, at 9 a.m. at Chef Peter’s Bistro, 17300 N Sun Village Pkwy. I look forward to discussing the latest City issues and answering any questions you might have.
City Council Meetings
The next regularly scheduled Council meetings are April 6 and 20 at 6 p.m. Please note that Council meetings will be re-opened to in-person attendance beginning with the April 20 meeting. For the April 6 meeting, please tune in on www.surpriseaz.gov/surprisetv, the Surprise City Gov Facebook page at www.facebook.com/cityofsurprise, or on Cox channel 11 to watch the meeting live. Instructions for virtual public comment will be available on the meeting agendas at www.surpriseaz.gov/agendas.