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Illustration by Tonesha Yazzie

In response to a growing number of COVID-19 cases, Gov. Doug Ducey declared a stay-at-home order. Included in a later statement was a list of essential services. In this executive order, which was declared on March 30 effective until April 30, there was an observable amount of ambiguity surrounding what services could be open. This makes it difficult to define what an essential worker is.

Currently, some nail and hair salons are still open despite the executive order, which makes one question what essential truly means. Given the situation and the climbing numbers of cases, these salons are putting the lives of others at risk by acting as though business is as usual.

Everyone's current goal is simply to survive, not become ill or infect others.

In the grand scheme of survival, trips to nail and hair salons are unnecessary. Customers could come from all around, because of the rarity of seeing an open salon, which would then encourage the salons to remain open and accessible due to the potential influx in customers. 

Alongside this, there were other services that were listed in the executive order that require their employees to come to the office when their work could be completed from home without the quality of work being affected. For example, my mom, who works for an office within the city government is still required to come to work. All she has been doing is fielding phone calls and answering emails, which in this age of technology can easily be done from home.

I believe the governor is partially at fault for the businesses and offices who are finding loopholes and keeping their employees at work. The executive order is too vague and not restrictive enough to make a noticeable difference in keeping people at home and flattening the curve.

At this point, the executive order has become more of a guideline, due to the lack of declared and widely enforced consequences, that will prevent the curve in Arizona from flattening significantly.

Lives are at stake here and the number of deaths will only rise if stricter repercussions are not enforced by governors and municipalities.

Honestly, if survival is the top priority, drive-thru food is not absolutely necessary either. However, keeping businesses open for drive-thru helps business owners survive at a time when profits are dropping, due to stay-at-home restrictions.

This is why the Arizona government needs to clearly define what services are essential or not since the U.S. has now become the country with the most cases of COVID-19.

Additionally, with Arizona in such close proximity to California, it is irresponsible to have such loose traveling restrictions in place. According to data in a Los Angeles Times article, California deaths due to COVID-19 are accelerating at a faster rate than in Washington, the biggest hot spot on the West Coast. 

In such dangerous times, clear restrictions and enforced rules are what can help flatten the curve and save lives. Until federal and state governments provide any clarity on the rules they have already given, the numbers will continue to rise and the longer everyone will have to remain at home