Arizona has been partially closed down again because of surging COVID-19 cases. Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday ordered bars, nightclubs, gyms, movie theaters and water parks to close for at least 30 days amid a string of record-setting increases in coronavirus cases in the state.
Over the last seven days, the state has set its new single-day high for the biggest increase in the number of COVID-19 cases three times. The latest record came Sunday when Arizona recorded 3,858 new cases.
The spike in positive cases comes several weeks after the Ducey’s May 15 lifting of Arizona’s stay-at-home orders, when businesses began reopening, public protests that followed the deaths of black men at the hands of police, and Memorial Day weekend, when many Arizonans left their homes to celebrate.
The Republican governor’s latest decision to crack down comes less than a week after he called out establishments in Old Town Scottsdale for ignoring social distancing guidelines outlined in his executive order to reopen the state. Ducey labeled eight Scottsdale establishments “bad actors” at a news conference Thursday. The admonishment came after city authorities and the state Department of Liquor Licenses and Control filed charges on Tuesday against Riot House, El Hefe, Bottled Blonde, International, Pattie’s, Casa Amigos, Hi-Fi and Maya Day and Night Club.
A spokeswoman for Riot Hospitality Group, which manages El Hefe and Riot House, pushed back on the characterization as bad actors. On Thursday, both clubs closed temporarily.
On Monday, Ducey signed an Executive Order to prohibit large gatherings, cease the issuance of new special event licenses and pause the operations of bars, gyms, movie theaters, waterparks and tubing rentals. The pause of these business operations takes effect at 8:00 p.m. today, Monday, June 29 and is in effect for one month.
In addition, Governor Ducey announced, in coordination with Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman, the first day of school for in-person learning will be delayed until August 17, 2020. Schools will be able to conduct distance learning before then should they choose.
The Governor also announced Monday a new grant program for long-term care facilities. Through the program, facilities will receive $10,000 for the purchase of electronic devices to facilitate video conferencing with residents and their families.
Monday’s Executive Order follows recent actions to boost diagnostic testing, including expanding rapid testing capability; amplify contact tracing; fund additional PPE and face masks for long-term care settings; and enhance guidance for establishments to limit congregating and enforce mitigation policies.
Prohibiting mass gatherings statewide
Effective June 29, 2020, even if appropriate physical distancing is possible, organized events of more than 50 people are prohibited. The Executive Order enables local governing jurisdictions, such as the city, town or county, to approve events on the condition of meeting certain safety precautions, such as physical distancing.
Pausing certain business operations
Effective at 8:00 p.m. on Monday, June 29, 2020, the following establishments shall pause operations until July 27, 2020:
• Bars with a series 6 or 7 liquor license from the Department of Liquor Licenses and Control (these entities may provide take-out and curbside service);
• Indoor gyms and fitness clubs or centers;
• Indoor movie theaters;
• Water parks;
• And tubing operators.
Unless extended, the pause remains in effect until June 27, 2020, after which businesses seeking to resume operations must demonstrate compliance with public health guidance as determined by the Arizona Department of Health Services.
Suspending special event licenses
Under the Executive Order, the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control shall cease issuing special event licenses for the period between June 29, 2020 and July 27, 2020.
Delaying first day of school
Governor Ducey today signed an
Today’s announcement follows an announcement last week of a $270 million plan to help Arizona public schools safely restart, while allowing for remote learning, addressing the achievement gap and bridging the digital divide.
View the Executive Order pausing some business operations HERE.
View the Executive Order protecting public health for students and teachers HERE.