After the governor Monday passed an order limiting large gatherings to slow the spread of COVID-19, local groups, such as the Main Street Merchants, will go forward with their events.
“We will still have our Fourth of July street fair with the blessing of the town,” said Minette Hart.
Merchants along Main Street will host vendors with games, food and crafts from Thursday, July 2 through Sunday, July 5.
The governor’s order strictly limits large gatherings and requires the town to give approval for any events that would draw more than 50 people.
Other event organizers in Payson, both town-sponsored and private, have reached out to the town for clarification on the order.
The Payson Farmers Market serves at least 50 people each weekend, but Ducey has declared farmers markets as essential as grocery stores.
That didn’t stop founder Lorian Roethlein from making sure the Payson Farmers Market remains in compliance.
“I am signing a waiver with the town this (Tuesday) afternoon,” she said.
Acting Town Manager Sheila DeSchaaf said Roethlein “intends to proceed with additional precautionary measures.”
Payson’s Farmers Market already follows the state’s COVID-19 precautions. The Roethleins have spread out booths and space, required facemasks and provided handwashing stations. The town has said it is in compliance, so it’s “OK to keep as it is,” said Roethlein.
DeSchaaf said the town-sponsored Concerts in the Park will continue because “masks and social distancing have been successful so far.”
The town will add additional signs at the concerts to “reinforce the need for attendees to maintain distance.”
At 8 p.m. on Monday, Gov. Doug Ducey signed an executive order shutting down certain businesses, delaying the start of school and limiting gatherings because of the increase in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations.
Anyone interested in holding an event must fill out an Arizona Department of Health Services form that explains how he or she will comply with COVID-19 business operations.
“We will weigh each event based upon the possibility for the type of event to enact measures to comply with social distancing requirements,” said DeSchaaf.
The town is required to “have the event organizer acknowledge in writing that they are familiar with the executive orders and will take appropriate measures for the event to comply with those requirements,” she said.
The governor has given the town the authority to shut down any organization, entity or event that does not fill out the required paperwork.
This order will remain in effect until July 27, at which time Ducey will consider repeal or revision of the order every two weeks depending on the situation.
The mayor and town manager keeps up with the ever-changing pandemic response through the League of Arizona Cities and Towns and regular meetings with state, county level agencies and elected officials at all levels.
“We have conference calls almost every day,” said DeSchaaf.
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