Safford declares state of emergency over COVID-19, courts to limit in-person contact

SAFFORD – The Safford City Council declared a state of emergency over COVID-19.

The council took the action at a special meeting Tuesday, March 17.

According to the resolution, the declaration of emergency “will enable the City of Safford to provide emergency resources, request additional resources and receive mutual aid from other political sub-divisions and entities.”

The city had previously announced the City Hall lobby was closed to in-person activity, the utility customers are encouraged to use the online Xpress Bill pay service or the drop boxes at City Hall.

On Monday, Robert Brutinel, chief justice of the Arizona Supreme Court, issued an administrative order limiting human-to-human contact in the courts.

The order calls for “all in-person proceedings in all Arizona appellate, superior, justice and municipal courts and before the presiding disciplinary judge be avoided to the greatest extent possible consistent with core constitutional rights,” and that the presiding judge in each county will determine the best method to limit that contact. Possible methods include “alternative means of filing, teleconferencing, video conferencing, and use of e-mail and text messages.”

In addition, empaneling of new petit and grand juries scheduled for March 16 through March 31 are to be rescheduled.