On Thursday, July 23, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced that despite COVID-19 cases trending down, it was no time for a victory lap. Instead, the governor extended his “Stay-At-Home” Executive Order.
“Over recent weeks, Arizona has made significant progress to contain the spread of COVID-19, but we cannot let up,” said the Governor during the press conference . As such, Ducey extended Executive Order 2020-43 that keeps gyms, nightclubs, movie theaters, water parks, tubing, and bars closed.
Ducey’s office would add that the Order would be reviewed every two weeks, offering little end-in-sight.
For some business interests in Arizona, the news was welcome, for others it was a death knell.
Ilan Wurman, the Arizona State University law professor who is representing fifty small business bar owners across Arizona, has been at the center of a fight to find these business owners some relief. He is now preparing to answer the Governors response, but will do so as those closely aligned with Ducey are also helping make the Governor’s case.’
|Arizona Chamber of Commerce Membership|
Snell & Willmer
University of Arizona
Southwest Airlines Company
The Boeing Company
U.S. Chamber of Commerce Institute for Legal Reform
|Wells Fargo Bank
Amagine CommunicationsPrime Investments Inc
Arizona Indian Gaming Assocation (AIGA)
Arizona Rock Products
Association Bank of America Merrill Lynch
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
Arizona Complete Health
Services Group of America
Southwest Gas Corporation
Apollo Education Group
Five Amici Briefs have been filed supporting the Governor and his actions to keep, among others, bars with a series 6 liquor license closed under EO 2020-43. Two worth noting were filed by Dr. Cara Christ, in her official capacity as Director of Arizona Department of Health. The other, by the Arizona Chamber of Commerce in Maricopa County.
Christ, who has had a place at the briefing table since the pandemic began, has been instrumental in crafting the message from ADH. Health care professionals, who have seen a rapid increase in their visibility, have been at the forefront of the media, both locally and nationally. As the federal government looks to add another round of stimulus money, hospitals in Arizona have much to gain.
On May 26, HealthCare Dive published numbers that reflect the big dollars federal aid can be. In an article by Samantha Liss, the nation’s largest for-profit hospital chains received a total of “about $2.2 billion” in federal grants.
These grants were extended to provide relief to hospitals and providers during the COVID-19 outbreak. The grant was part of a $175 billion dollar allocation provided by Congress via the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security Act as well as the Paycheck Protection Program and Health Care Enhancement Act. It is also money they don’t have to pay back.
Additionally, a press release dated July 17 stated that the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), would begin a second round of funding, $10 billion worth, to areas seeing a significant impact of COVID-19 cases. Twenty Arizona hospitals are part of a report dated July, 20 which was provided by the CDC. Arizona has been designated as an area of high impact.
Wurman, who along with fifty small business owners, hope that the Arizona State Supreme Court accepts the case. While he would not offer a comment on the brief offered by Ms. Christ, he did have a comment on the one offered by the Chamber of Commerce.
“I don’t think they represent the interests of small, local businesses. Which is maybe why restaurants with their big lobbying arm get to stay open while the Governor’s orders unfairly target small businesses who need the most help.”
With a second round of stimulus due to come out of Congress soon, big money interest may be playing a significant role in how long small business owners are forced to keep their doors closed. Wurman hopes to hear from the court the first week of August.