Find info, resources, and ways to help the Greater Phoenix community during the COVID-19 pandemic.

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COVID-19 Updates

First and foremost, it’s important to be clear that what the coronavirus has disrupted around the world is people’s health. The protection of human life and the need for vaccination should continue to be the No. 1 priority. That said, the coronavirus (COVID-19) has already affected the tourism industry globally, and we expect it will continue to disrupt both leisure and business travel through the remainder of the year.

On Wednesday, March 11, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey declared a public health emergency in order to allow the state to tap into emergency funding and provide healthcare officials with obtaining medical supplies as needed. This decision was made to better prepare and care for Arizonans and our visitors should there be additional spread of this virus.

On March 16, in accordance with the CDC, Arizona has announced a new guidance that large events and mass gatherings be cancelled. Examples of large events and mass gatherings include conferences, festivals, parades, concerts, sporting events, weddings & other types of assemblies.

To help prevent the spread of the disease, we encourage visitors and locals alike to follow these precautionary recommendations made by the CDC:

  • Wash hands often using soap and water for at least 20 seconds. If soap and water are not readily available, use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer with at least 60% alcohol.

  • Avoid touching your face.

  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then dispose of the tissue in a trash receptacle.

  • Prevent the spread of illness to others by staying home or in your hotel room when sick.

 

HOW PHOENIX IS WORKING TO STOP THE SPREAD

Valley Metro, Greater Phoenix's public transportation agency, uses a regularly scheduled cleaning process for transit fleet and public spaces. They have enhanced the cleaning and disinfecting regimens on public transit. The high-touch areas (stanchions, hand rails, seat rails and fareboxes) on buses and the light rail fleet are wiped down each day and disinfected several times each week. Floors are vacuumed and mopped, seats are cleaned, and walls are wiped down regularly. At light rail stations, fare vending machines, handrails, water fountains, call boxes, seats and armrests are cleaned daily and disinfected. 

In addition, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport maintains a 24-hour cleaning service and offers hand-sanitizer stations, which are located throughout the terminals for travelers. The airport has proactively increased the number of times per day it sanitizes high-touch areas. If someone falls ill while at the Airport and calls for paramedics, the Phoenix Fire Department will respond appropriately, in partnership with Maricopa County Health. Airport employees and passengers are being encouraged to use hand sanitizer and wash hands often, for at least 20 seconds.

The Phoenix Convention Center & Venues is following all precautions issued by county, state and federal health officials, including the following:

  • 24-hour cleaning and sanitizing, in the convention center and theater venues, using approved disinfectants.

  • Increasing the number of hand sanitizer dispensers, available to visitors and staff, throughout the facility, and frequently monitoring them to ensure they are refilled and operating correctly.

  • Increasing signage throughout the facility to include messages of best practices to avoid illness.

Additionally, the center’s exclusive food and beverage partner, Aventura Catering, is taking the following precautions to combat the spread of infectious germs/viruses: 

  • Increasing the frequency of utensil/pan rotations at buffets

  • Increasing the use of single serve items (e.g., creamer, individually wrapped utensils, etc.) 

  • Increasing the frequency of sanitizing high traffic areas (e.g., condiment stations, touch screens, etc.)

  • Temporarily pausing fountain machine use to avoid cross contamination — bottled beverages will be available. 

  • Increasing monitoring of dishwashing procedures and hygiene standards

In the unlikely event of a reported case of the COVID-19 at the convention center or its venues, designated convention center staff will quickly communicate to meeting and event planners, to provide information and updates to attendees.

Visit Phoenix is working closely with the convention center to ensure that meeting and event planners and their attendees feel comfortable in Phoenix. We encourage the traveling public to follow guidance offered by the CDC and public health authorities.

On Wednesday, March 11, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey declared a public health emergency in order to allow the state to tap into emergency funding and provide healthcare officials with obtaining medical supplies as needed. This decision was made to better prepare and care for Arizonans and our visitors should there be additional spread of this virus.

 

THE IMPACT TO THE MEETINGS INDUSTRY

Since the outbreak began, we have heard reports of meetings cancellations at Greater Phoenix area hotels and resorts. We are working with our hotel partners to better understand how many cancellations have taken place in order to realize the full effect of the COVID-19 outbreak. What we do know is this: when the meetings industry is disrupted, the negative impact to the economy is significant. 

In addition to cancelled meetings hosted at local hotels and resorts, we can report there have been 17 cancellations of “citywide” meetings at the Phoenix Convention Center. The “citywide” designation indicates that the group has room blocks at multiple hotels along with a contract at the Phoenix Convention Center. Meetings that are large enough to be categorized as a “citywide,” contribute millions of dollars to the Greater Phoenix area’s economy. When a meeting is cancelled, the ripple effect can impact community jobs and can hurt the local business economy. 

Visit Phoenix will continue to monitor the situation and update the community as more information becomes available. 

 

For more information regarding COVID-19’s impact in Greater Phoenix, please reach out to Megan Trummel, Director of Marketing & Corporate Communications, at mtrummel@visitphoenix.com

If you have questions specific to the Phoenix Convention Center & Venues, please contact Jacqueline Davis, Marketing and Communications Manager, at jacqueline.davis@phoenix.gov.

(UPDATED 3/18/2020 at 9:10 a.m.)