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Arizona National Guard to help replenish grocery stores

Andrew Cuomo

Arizona’s National Guard is currently battling the coronavirus outbreak by helping to fill grocery stores, Gov. Doug Ducey said Monday.

Ducey said an immediate need was dealing with empty shelves holding basic provisions. The governor says the guard is there to get goods to stores as quickly as possible, not to act as security.

“They’re not going to be grocery store workers,” Ducey said. “They’re going to close the gap in terms of what was missing.”

The Guard is delivering food and supplies from warehouses to local grocery stores using military vehicles to transport the goods, according to CNN affiliate KTVK-TV. There will be 700 citizen-soldiers and airmen helping in different phases, KTVK reported.

Ducey says with Guard units helping to direct distribution, each store can be stocked more efficiently. Stores can stay supplied as long as people spread out their shopping trips.

“If you’re going to go shopping, buy a week’s worth of groceries once a week,” Ducey said. “If you’ll do that, you’ll come back the next week, and the shelves will be full.”

Ducey says once store supplies stabilize, the Guard can be used for other purposes, such as helping hospitals with supplies and facilities.

President Donald Trump on Sunday outlined the federal government’s plan to fund Guard units that were activated by governors in three of the states hardest hit by the novel coronavirus — New York, California and Washington state.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency and the federal government will be funding 100% of the cost of deploying National Guard units to carry out approved missions to stop the virus, Trump said.

Trump said the federal government will act as a “backup” to the state leaders, emphasizing the importance of keeping governors “in command.”

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