The Arizona Department of Health Services recently announced that Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima counties are expected to move from “substantial” spread to “moderate” spread as of Thursday.
The anticipated update means that some gyms, bars, movie theaters, water parks, and tube operators in those counties could begin to reopen.
ADHS said people wearing masks, physically distancing, and the limitation of large social gatherings have allowed all three counties to progress to the next phase of reopening. With significantly reduced capacity and with social distancing measures in place, businesses may have the opportunity to open.
“Based on current data, ADHS anticipates that Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal counties will be in the moderate range for business reopening when the Business Data Dashboard updates this Thursday, Aug. 27,” ADHS said in a statement. “This would allow certain establishments in these counties to reopen if they attest to complying with all requirements, including limiting occupancy and enforcing mask requirements.”
According to the state’s benchmarks, under the “moderate” phase the following businesses are allowed to return to business:
-Indoor gyms can reopen at 25% capacity
-Bars and nightclubs (that serve food) at 50% capacity
-Movie theaters at 50% capacity
-Water parks at 50% capacity
-Tube operators at 50% capacity
Businesses will not be required to apply to reopen, but must complete an attestation form and agree to follow the state’s reopening guidelines for businesses, which include mask requirements, increased cleaning and sanitization, social distancing, the closing of communal spaces, and screening staff members for COVID-19-like symptoms at the beginning of every shift.
“Businesses not complying with the required mitigation measures will be subject to strict enforcement,” ADHS said. Police, county health departments, and other state agencies will be responsible for enforcing those measures, the agency said in its letter to businesses.
While this is promising news, the state is still encouraging all Arizonans to be vigilant, and continue practicing the proven COVID-19 prevention strategies. At this time, it is still important that we continue to wear masks when in public, physically distance, and stay home when sick. These strategies will keep our metrics trending in the right direction.