Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has announced additional operational requirements for restaurants and bars in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
In addition to reiterating the need for sanitation and hygienic practices encouraged in the previous guidance, the new requirements mandate the use of face masks by employees and strengthens social distancing protocols.
The additional requirements follow previous guidelines Ducey issued as dining establishments prepared to reopen for business on May 11.
“If the local government has not mandated mask or cloth face covering requirements, cloth masks and frequent hand washing is required for all servers, host staff and employees that interact with customers,” the policy states.
Ducey said he would give local governments the authority to make wearing face masks in public mandatory during a press conference on Wednesday.
“As we have reopened, there’s been good actors,” Ducey said at the press conference. “But there have been more than an outlier here and there. There have been some bad actors. I have chosen to focus on the good actors trying to promote responsible decisions and good business management, but we need to address the folks that are not in line.”
Following Ducey’s prior decision to allow restaurants to reopen on May 11, many establishments decided to forgo reopening immediately or have once again closed their doors amid a statewide surge in confirmed coronavirus cases.
After other restaurants and bars did reopen, videos and photos circulated on social media that showed patrons of many establishments gathered in large crowds, failing to adhere to social distancing protocols.
Over Memorial Day weekend, photos of large crowds at Old Town Scottsdale establishments flooded social media, prompting the city’s mayor to denounce them as “disturbing.”
During the press conference on Wednesday, Ducey said that businesses would face consequences for failing to adhere to the new requirements.
“There will be enforcement,” Ducey said. “They will be held accountable.”
The new policy also requires dining establishments to screen employees for coronavirus symptoms prior to the beginning of their shifts.
In addition to maintaining a physical distance of 6 feet between customers and limiting parties to no more than 10 individuals, restaurants and bars must clearly mark tables and chairs that are not in use.
Businesses are also required to post signage near entrances communicating that symptomatic individuals are not permitted to enter the premises.
Salad bars and buffets — or any instances where customers serve themselves — are prohibited as well.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Arizona Department of Health Services announced an increase of 1,827 new coronavirus cases and 20 more deaths.
On Tuesday, Arizona reported a single-day record high of 2,392 COVID-19 cases.
Click here to watch Ducey’s full press conference.