Virus Outbreak Arizona

Owner Steve Johnson attaches a notice on the door of Keegan's Grill Tuesday, March 17, 2020, in Phoenix notifying guests his restaurant will be closing in compliance with the state of emergency issued by the city of Phoenix earlier in the day that restaurants only serve take-out. Phoenix, Tucson and Flagstaff have ordered bars, gyms and other indoor facilities to close immediately and restaurants to offer to-go service only in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

(The Center Square) – Gov. Doug Ducey announced Arizona’s bars, gyms, waterparks, and theaters would be closing back down, as the state sees spikes in coronavirus cases.

Those changes take effect at 8 p.m. Monday and remain in effect until July 27.

“With this targeted approach, we know that we can pump the brakes in Arizona, we can pause,” Ducey said. “Our aspirational goal is that we can reopen those businesses in 30 days with enforcement by county health officials, but we’re going to be monitoring the data along the way, and we’re going to do everything necessary to protect public health.”

Those businesses would be allowed to reopen in one month as long as they can prove they meet a new set of opening criteria. Ducey announced his stay-at-home order near the end of March and allowed it to expire in mid-May, adding requirements for businesses to follow if they were to accept customers again.

Ducey also announced his new executive order would limit gatherings to under 50 people, enforced by local jurisdictions. This order comes the week after President Donald Trump held a rally of about 3,000 people in a Phoenix megachurch. Ducey said religious gatherings and other constitutionally protected activities would not be affected.

While Ducey praised most business owners’ responsible actions, the governor criticized several bars and nightclubs in the valley for reopening with no regard for social distancing guidelines. Many of those bars were given a “final notice” by the state’s liquor commission about their practices.

Dr. Cara Crist, director of the Department of Health Services, announced Arizona’s hospitals would be able to access “crisis standards of care” protocols to help with a coming surge in hospitalization rates. Should hospitals choose, they’re able to halt all but the most urgent elective care procedures as well as open command centers to better manage hospital capacity.

She also gave guidance on how Arizonans should celebrate the Fourth of July holiday. She advised residents to “stay within your normal cohort” of household and immediate daily contacts, ensure vulnerable family members stay home, and to stay outside when possible.

Due to a laboratory running late reporting their results, the Arizona Department of Health Services announced 625 new cases of COVID-19. No additional deaths were announced. In total, the state has 74,553 confirmed cases and attributes 1,588 deaths to the virus.

The department reported 3,857 new cases Sunday, a record for the state.

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois and Arizona government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Central Illinois and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.