City of Tucson Curfew FAQs

What is the City of Tucson Curfew?

Beginning Dec. 4, 2020, at 10 p.m. and continuing through 5 a.m. on Dec. 23, 2020, a limited curfew is imposed in the City of Tucson. Read the ordinance.

  • The curfew is in place during the hours from 10 p.m. until 5 a.m. each day during this time.

  • During the hours of curfew, all persons are prohibited from using, standing, sitting, traveling, or being present on any public street or in any public place, including for the purpose of travel

Are there exemptions to the curfew?

Yes. Exemptions include:

  • All law enforcement, firefighters, paramedics or other medical personnel, and any other emergency response personnel
  • Persons traveling directly to and from work

  • Persons attending religious services

  • Commercial trucking and delivery services

  • Persons caring for a family member, friend, or animal

  • Persons patronizing or operating a business that is an Essential Function*

  • Persons seeking medical care or fleeing dangerous circumstances

  • Persons engaging in Essential Activities* and travel for any of the above services or purposes

  • Persons engaged in or traveling to perform or receive Essential Functions

  • Persons who are homeless

*Definitions of Essential Functions and Essential Activities are found at the end of this FAQ​

Why is the City imposing a curfew now?

The most current local COVID-19 data from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) and Pima County Health Department (PCHD) show that Tucson is experiencing significant community-based transmission of COVID-19, increased hospitalizations for COVID-19 in Pima County, and that hospital capacity, and ICU bed capacity, in particular, is at or very near full capacity. On Nov. 23, 2020, PCHD issued a Public Health Advisory due to the dramatic increase in COVID-19. Additionally, the University of Arizona's COVID-19 Modeling Team directed a letter to ADHS on Nov. 27, 2020, urging statewide action to address current COVID-19 conditions and short-term forecasts. The letter notes that in the absence of immediate action, Arizona "risks a catastrophe on a scale of the worst natural disaster the state has ever experienced." By implementing a curfew, the Tucson Mayor and City Council hope to slow the spread of COVID-19, reduce hospitalizations, and preserve life. 

What is the penalty for breaking the curfew?

The curfew will be enforced by the Tucson Police Department. Breaking the curfew requirements will be a civil infraction. Police officers will focus on educating and working with persons found to be in violation of the requirements to provide an opportunity for them to comply prior to any enforcement action or citation. The City Attorney may dispose or resolve any citation issued in connection with this proclamation through diversion or other processes under which the offender can avoid prosecution.

Under what authority can the Mayor and Council put this curfew in place?

The same Arizona laws that give emergency powers to the governor also give emergency powers to mayors, during times of emergency. That includes specifically the power to order a curfew. 

Chapter IV, Section 1(10) of the Tucson Charter provides that the City has the power “to make regulations to prevent the spread of diseases,” and Chapter VII, Section 1(28) of the Charter further provides that the Mayor and Council have the power to “make all regulations which may be necessary or expedient for the preservation of the health and the suppression of disease; to make regulations to prevent the introduction of contagious, infectious, or other diseases into the city; to make quarantine laws and regulations and to enforce the same within the city; to regulate, control and prevent the entry within the city of persons, baggage, merchandise or other property infected with contagious disease.” 

Does this curfew require businesses to close?

The implementation of this curfew does not require any business to close during the hours that the curfew is in effect nor does it require the business to push patrons out at a certain time. It also does not affect any employees traveling to and from their place of employment. The curfew applies to the individual, or patron, and when they are out in a public place, including on the road. The goal of the curfew is to have people home by 10 p.m. or shortly thereafter unless they are performing an essential activity or essential function as defined in the sections below.  Businesses are encouraged to help share this message with their patrons so that they will be in compliance with the curfew and help achieve the goal of reducing the spread of COVID-19. 

What are Essential Activities?

For purpose of this proclamation, Essential Activities has the meaning as provided in Governor Ducey’s Executive Order 2020-18, dated March 30, 2020. 

Essential Activities include:

  • Obtaining necessary supplies and services for family, household members, and pets, such as groceries, food, and supplies for household consumption and use, supplies and equipment needed to work from home, assignments for completion of distance learning, and products necessary to maintain safety, sanitation, and essential maintenance of the home and residence.
  • Engaging in activities essential for the health and safety of family, household members, and pets, including things such as seeking medical, behavioral health, or emergency services and obtaining medical supplies or medication.
  • Caring for a family member, friend, or pet in another household or residence, which includes but is not limited to transportation of a family member, friend, or their pet for essential health and safety activities and to obtain necessary supplies and services for the other household.
  • Engaging in outdoor exercise activities, such as walking, hiking, running, biking, or golfing, but only if appropriate physical distancing practices are used.
  • Attending or conducting work or volunteering in Essential Functions which includes but is not limited to transporting children to child care services for attending work in an essential service
  • Engaging in constitutionally protected activities such as speech and religion, and any legal or court process provided that such is conducted in a manner that provides appropriate physical distancing to the extent feasible.

What are Essential Functions?

For purposes of this Proclamation, “Essential Functions” has the meaning as provided in Governor Ducey’s Executive Order 2020-12, dated March 23, 2020, as thereafter amended. 

Essential Functions: An essential function is defined as one specifically identified as such or a function that promotes the public health, safety and welfare of the state or assists others in fulfilling such functions. The following includes categories of essential functions and shall include but not be limited to: 

  • Healthcare and Public Health Operations: includes but is not limited to: hospitals; clinics; dental offices; pharmacies; public health entities, including those that compile, model, analyze and communicate public health information; pharmaceutical, pharmacy, medical device and equipment, and biotechnology companies (including operations, research and development, manufacture and supply chain); organizations collecting blood, platelets, plasma, and other necessary materials; eye care centers, including those that sell glasses and contact lenses; home healthcare services providers; mental health and substance use providers; other healthcare facilities and suppliers; providers of any related and/or ancillary healthcare services; entities that transport and dispose of medical materials and remains; manufacturers, technicians, logistics and warehouse operators, and distributors of medical equipment, personal protective equipment (PPE), medical gases, pharmaceuticals, blood, platelets and plasma products, vaccines, testing materials, laboratory supplies, cleaning, sanitizing, disinfecting or sterilization supplies, and tissue and paper towel products; veterinary care and all healthcare services provided to animals. This includes doctors, nurses, and any other classification of medical personnel necessary to operate those functions in. this category. This category of essential services shall be construed broadly to avoid any impacts to the delivery of healthcare, broadly defined. Healthcare and Public Health Operations does not include fitness and exercise gyms.
  • Human Services Operations: includes but is not limited to: long-term care facilities; residential settings and shelters for adults, seniors, children and/or people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, and/or mental illness; transitional facilities; home-based settings to provide services to individuals with physical, intellectual, or/or developmental disabilities, seniors, adults, and children; field offices that provide and help to determine eligibility for basic needs including food, cash assistance, medical coverage, child care, vocational services, rehabilitation services; developmental centers; adoption agencies; businesses that provide food, shelter, and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged individuals, individuals with physical, intellectual and/or developmental disabilities, or otherwise vulnerable individuals. Human Services Operations shall be construed broadly to avoid any impacts to the delivery of human services, broadly defined.

  • Essential Infrastructure Operations: includes but is not limited to: food production, distributions, and sale; construction (including, but not limited to, construction required in response to this public health emergency, hospital construction, construction of long-term care facilities, public works construction, and housing construction); building management and maintenance; landscape management; airport operations; operation and maintenance of utilities, including water, sewer and gas; electrical (including power generation, distribution, and production of raw materials); distribution centers; oil and biofuel refining; roads, highways, railroads, and public transportation; ports; cybersecurity operations; flood control; solid waste and recycling collection and removal; internet, video and telecommunications systems (including the provision of essential global, national, and local infrastructure for computing services, business infrastructure communications and web-based services). Essential lnfrastructure shall be construed broadly to avoid any impacts to essential infrastructure, broadly defined.

  • Essential Governmental Functions: includes but is not limited to: park personnel that provide admission, maintenance, and operation of park facilities that provide outdoor recreation; all first responders, emergency management personnel, emergency dispatchers and those supporting 911 services; court personnel, law enforcement, and corrections personnel; hazardous materials responders; child protection and child welfare personnel; housing and shelter personnel; military and other governmental employees working for or to support Essential Businesses and Operations. Essential Government Functions means services provided by the State or any county, city, town, or political subdivision thereof and needed to ensure the continuing operation of the government agencies or to provide for or support the health, safety, and welfare of the public. Essential Government Functions also includes contractors performing or supporting such functions. Each government body shall determine its Essential Governmental Functions and ensure a plan is in place for the performance of these functions. This order does not apply to the United States government or to a tribal entity, however, any employee, official, or contractor of the United States government shall not be restricted from performing their functions under the law. 

  • Essential Businesses and Operations: includes but is not limited to Healthcare and Public Health Operations, Human Services Operations, Essential Governmental Functions, and Essential Infrastructure Operations as well as the following:

    • Stores that sell groceries and medicine: Grocery stores, pharmacies, certified farmers' markets, farm and produce stands, supermarkets, convenience stores, and other establishments engaged in the retail sale of groceries, canned food, dry goods, frozen foods, fresh fruits and vegetables, pet supplies, fresh meats, fish and poultry, alcoholic and non-alcoholic. beverages, and any other household stores that sell groceries, medicine, including medication not requiring a medical prescription, and also that sell other non-grocery products, and products necessary to maintain the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences and Essential Businesses and Operations. 

    • Food, beverage, and agriculture: Food and beverage manufacturing, production, processing, and cultivation, including farming, livestock, fishing, baking; and other production of agriculture, including cultivation, marketing, production, and distribution of animals and goods for consumption and, businesses that provide food, shelter and other necessities for life for animals, including animal shelters, rescues, shelters, kennels and adoption facilities. 

    • Outdoor recreation activities: any outdoor recreation area, park, site, or trail that provides opportunities for outdoor recreation with social distancing such as walking, hiking, and biking. This includes golf courses if restrictions on food and beverage service under Executive Order 2020-09 are followed. 

    • Organizations that provide charitable and social services: Businesses and religious and secular nonprofit organizations, including food banks, when providing food, shelter and social services, and other necessities of life for economically disadvantaged or otherwise vulnerable individuals who need assistance as a result of this emergency and people with disabilities.

    • Media: Newspapers, television, radio, and other media services. 

    • Gas stations and businesses needed for transportation: Gas stations and auto-supply, auto-repair, and related facilities, truck stops, and bicycle shops and related facilities.

    • Financial institutions: Banks, currency exchanges, consumer lenders, including but not limited to payday lenders, pawnbrokers, consumer installment lenders, and sales finance lenders, credit unions, appraisers, title companies, financial markets, trading and futures exchanges, affiliates of financial institutions, entities that issue bonds, related financial institutions and institutions selling financial products.

    • Hardware and supply stores: Hardware stores and businesses that sell electrical, plumbing, and heating materials.

    • Critical trades: Building and Construction Tradesmen and Tradeswomen and other trades including but not limited to plumbers, electricians, exterminators, cleaning and janitorial staff for commercial and governmental properties, security staff, operating engineers, HVAC, painting, moving and relocations services, and other service providers who provide services that are necessary to maintaining the safety, sanitation, and essential operation of residences, essential activities and essential businesses and operations. 

    • Mail, post, shipping, logistics, delivery, and pick-up services: Post offices and other businesses that provide shipping and delivery, services, and businesses that ship or deliver groceries, food, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages, goods, or services to end-users or through commercial channels. 

    • Educational institutions: Educational institutions-including public and private pre-K-12 schools, colleges, and universities-for purposes of facilitating distance learning, performing critical research, or performing essential functions, provided that social distancing of six-feet per person is maintained to the greatest extent possible. This Executive Order is consistent with and does not amend or supersede any order by the Governor and Superintendent in effect to close schools, except that affected schools are ordered closed through April 10, 2020.

    • Laundry services: Laundromats, dry cleaners, industrial laundry services, and laundry service providers. 

    • Restaurants for- consumption off-premises: Restaurants and other facilities that prepare and serve food, but only for consumption off-premises, through such means as in-house delivery, third-party delivery, drive-through, curbside pick-up and carryout. Schools and other entities that typically provide food services to students or members of the public may continue to do so on the condition that the food is provided to students or members of the public on a pick-up and take away basis only. Schools and other entities that provide food services under this exemption shall not permit the food to be eaten at the site where it is provided or at any other gathering site. This order is consistent with and does not supersede Executive Order 2020-09. 

    • Supplies to work from home: Businesses that sell, manufacture, or supply products needed for people to work from home or conduct distance learning.

    • Supplies for Essential Businesses and Operations: Businesses that sell, manufacture, or supply other Essential Businesses and Operations with the support or materials necessary to operate, including computers, audio and video electronics, household appliances, IT and telecommunication equipment; hardware, paint, flat glass, electrical, plumbing and heating material, sanitary equipment, personal hygiene and products, food, food additives, ingredients and components, medical and orthopedic equipment, optics and photography equipment, diagnostics, food and beverages, chemicals, soaps and detergent; firearm and ammunition Suppliers and retailers for purposes of safety and security.

    • Transportation: Airlines, taxis, transportation network providers (such as Uber and Lyft), vehicle rental services, paratransit, and other private, public, and commercial transportation and logistics providers necessary for all categories of "Essential Operations" as defined in this order. 

    • Home-based care and services: Home-based care for adults, seniors, children, and/or people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, substance use disorders, and/or mental illness, including caregivers such as nannies who may travel to the child's home to provide care and other in-home services including meal delivery.

    • Residential facilities and shelters: Residential facilities and shelters for adults, seniors, children, and/or people with developmental disabilities, intellectual disabilities, and substance use disorders and/or mental illness. 

    • Professional and personal services: Professional services, such as legal services, accounting services, insurance services, personal hygiene services with additional sanitization precautions as recommended for businesses by the Arizona Department of Health Services and real estate services (including appraisal and title services).

    • Day care centers for employees exempted by this Executive Order: Day care centers providing care for individuals serving in any essential services category. 

    • Manufacture, distribution, and supply chain for critical products and industries: Manufacturing companies, distributors, and supply chain companies producing and supplying essential products and services in and for industries such as pharmaceutical, technology, biotechnology, healthcare, chemicals and sanitizations, waste pickup and disposal, agriculture, food and beverage, transportations, energy, steel and steel products, petroleum and fuel, mining, construction, national defense, communications as well as products used by other Essential Businesses and Operations. 

    • Hotels and motels: Hotels and motels, to the extent used for lodging and delivery or carryout food services. 

    • Funeral services: Funeral, mortuary, cremation, burial, cemetery, and related services.