SAN LUIS, Ariz. — Residents here won’t have to worry about losing water service if a job or wage losses resulting from the COVID-19 prevents them from paying their bills to the city.

The San Luis City Council has approved a resolution to suspend shutoffs and penalty for late payments for water bills that became delinquent as of March 13.

March 13 was the date San Luis Mayor Gerardo Sanchez declared a state of emergency in the city owing to the coronavirus pandemic. The declaration included an order suspending cutoffs of water service.

Under the resolution approved Wednesday by the council, the 10 percent penalty charges for late payment will be suspended until Sept. 1, or sooner if the state of emergency is lifted before then.

“Since the emergency began, the community has been helped with not suspending service,” Sanchez said. “Now we are making it official. It was something we discussed two weeks ago (during the council’s) retreat, in order to help out in that regard.

“Unemployment is high anyway in San Luis when the (agricultural) season ends,” he added. “Now it’s worse. There are a lot of unemployed people, and this is a way we have to help them.

“I think that if in the summer unemployment reaches 29 percent normally, it’s going to be worse because of the pandemic,” Sanchez said. 

He said the city is bracing for a similar impact on the municipal finances.

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