Widespread business, school closures ahead of Trump's Phoenix rally

Kaila White Garrett Mitchell
The Republic |
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The rally President Donald Trump is holding at the Phoenix Convention Center on Aug. 22, 2017, is affecting businesses in at least a half-mile radius of the convention center.

Many offices, businesses, schools and even courts in downtown Phoenix are planning to close or send employees home early ahead of President Donald Trump's visit Tuesday evening. 

The rally is affecting businesses in at least a half-mile radius of the Phoenix Convention Center, where Trump is scheduled to take the stage at 7 p.m. 

It is the first time in recent memory that a political event in Arizona has spurred widespread closures of schools, restaurants, bars and businesses. 

Closures in CityScape, Arizona Center 

Multiple businesses in CityScape are planning to close, including V's Barbershop, which said in an email it is closing "due to the Presidential visit and for security purposes." 

The Starbucks and Chipotle locations in CityScape will both close at 2 p.m., according to employees. 

However, employees at Blue Hound Kitchen & Cocktails, Chico Malo and Copper Blues said those businesses will remain open.

As for the Arizona Center, APS confirmed that employees from that office will work remotely Tuesday, and the law office of Snell & Wilmer will dismiss employees at 1 p.m.

Quarles & Brady, a law office in the Renaissance Square office complex, confirmed that its roughly 175 employees will be allowed to leave at 2 p.m. Tuesday, and a skeleton crew will stay behind to keep the office running.

Schools sending students home 

Bioscience High School in downtown Phoenix will dismiss students early Tuesday, according to Craig Pletenik, a spokesman for the Phoenix Union High School District.

The Arizona School for the Arts will dismiss students and close campus early for "students and parents to be able to get off-campus and home as safely and efficiently as possible."

Phoenix Elementary School District has canceled all after-school activities at all of its schools. 

"Each school will complete their normal school day and then send students home via their normal mode of transportation," the district said in a statement. "Please be prompt in picking up your children so that you do not find yourself struggling to get home."

Downtown court announces early dismissal

The Maricopa County Superior Court announced Monday it would close its downtown facilities at 2 p.m. due to anticipated access issues. 

The impacted areas include: the Old Courthouse, South Court Tower, East Court Building, Central Court Building, West Court Building, Downtown Justice Center, Luhr's Building Probation Center and the One West Madison offices. 

"All Superior Court and Justice Court locations outside of downtown Phoenix will remain open. People taking orders of protection, or other form of emergency relief, are encouraged to go to municipal courts, justice courts or regional Superior Court locations instead of downtown facilities," the statement said. 

Daniel Scarpinato, Gov. Doug Ducey's spokesman, said state services will operate as normal on Tuesday, but given the expected crowds, agency directors will have the option of letting non-essential employees leave work early.

Phoenix City Manager Ed Zuercher said in an email to employees that he "decided not to cut City Hall hours" but that "departments and supervisors can work to stagger work hours by adjusting start times or lunch breaks, while still ensuring a full shift and coverage for public counters and service."

Storytellers Project event rescheduled; Crescent Ballroom closing 

The farthest business from the Phoenix Convention Center that has confirmed it will close early is Crescent Ballroom, which is half a mile away. It will close at 2 p.m. 

The Arizona Storytellers Project show planned for Tuesday has been rescheduled for Wednesday, Aug. 30.

"The mission statement of the Storytellers Project is to serve and reflect our community while developing empathy among its members. We are adjusting our show date to ensure we can live up to these goals safely," the project said in a statement. 

Valley Bar will be closed all day. The underground bar's "Seinfeld" trivia night, originally scheduled for Tuesday, was moved to September 5 as a result of the closure.

Small businesses close for good measure

Kaleidoscope Juice, located at First and Washington streets, will close two hours early Tuesday at 4 p.m. 

Kyle Laws, the manager of the downtown location, said Monday that the combination of road closures and its close proximity to the convention center were factors that contributed to their decision to close early.

"It's just such a hostile political climate that any sort of measure to prevent future things from happening would be good," Laws said.

A few blocks away, Steve's Greenhouse Grill, located at 139 E. Adams St., will also be closed, manager Nica Sanchez-Cruz told The Arizona Republic. It is directly across the street from the convention center. 

Velo bike shop is closing at 4 p.m., according to their Facebook page. 

ASU preparing 'in the event any incidents occur'

Arizona State University spokesman Jerry Gonzalez did not offer planning details for the school, which has a campus less than half a mile away from the Phoenix Convention Center. 

But he said they were taking precautions.

"Arizona State University is taking the proper precautions to ensure the safety of students, faculty and staff in the event any incidents occur on or near campus during President Trump’s visit on Tuesday. We have been actively engaged in planning for the visit with our local, county, state and federal partners."

ASU downtown's College of Public Service and Community Solutions reported it was moving classes out of the Mercado building Tuesday, but was staying open and not officially cancelling classes. 

More may announce closures

Dan Klocke, executive director of the Downtown Phoenix Partnership, said Phoenix has a history of being able to handle large scale events such as this one. 

"I think what’s important is that we have had events like this time and time again in the last five years and the Police Department has done a fantastic job every time," he said.

"Obviously we want businesses to make decision for their employees but we have had these events like Super Bowl Central, multiple political rallies, presidential visits and so forth."

Know of other downtown Phoenix offices or businesses closing for the rally? Contact reporter Kaila White at

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