Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey gave a “green light” to reopen more businesses, he announced during a Monday press conference, including dine-in services at restaurants and barbers and salons.
Salons and similar services can reopen Friday, May 8 with reduced capacity and comprehensive sanitation procedures among the required adaptations. Ducey also suggested moving to appointment service to avoid congestion.
Restaurants may resume dine-in services next Monday, May 11, Ducey said. Establishments will be required to maintain physical distancing procedures, prohibit parties larger than 10 guests, operate at reduced occupancy and capacity and implement symptom screening for employees.
Ducey already allowed hospitals and healthcare facilities to resume elective surgeries May 1.
While businesses may soon see a return to relatively normal business operations, Ducey said that the elderly or other members of a vulnerable population should still exercise caution. The governor said that businesses and employers should still consider making extra accommodation for anyone with an increased health risk.
“If you feel sick, please say home,” Ducey said. “Take the day off, or more.”
While restaurants may soon resume dine-in services, the governor made no mention of reopening bars. State officials are currently working with tourism and fitness industries to create a timeline and guideline to reopen gyms, pools and provide proper guidance for hotels and motels.
“The fitness industry closed by and large voluntarily before some of the announcements that we made,” Ducey said. “We want to work with the fitness industry along with our hotels and motels and our apartments on what the proper guidance is around gyms and pools, of course, informed by the CDC.”
Ducey said all of the decisions made reacting to COVID-19 were informed by data and healthcare professionals and said he sees the light at the end of the tunnel.
Regarding future decisions, the governor said he has his eye on the Opening America Again gating criteria provided by the federal government. The program includes a list of criteria states must accomplish before beginning to reopen, including a downward trajectory of influenza-like and COVID-19 cases for two weeks and having “robust testing” in place.
While the number of cases and deaths continues to grow in Arizona, in part due to the recent “testing blitz,” Ducey said the percentage of positive cases versus total tests is dropping.
The percentage of positive cases was at it’s high on March 22 and 29 (10 percent) and was most recently recorded at 6 percent on April 19. The state administered nearly 23,000 tests over the weekend, and Ducey said the blitz will continue for two more weeks.
The number of confirmed coronavirus cases in Arizona topped 8,900 as of Monday, May 4, according to the morning report from the Arizona Department of Health Services. Pima County had 1,346 confirmed cases. The coronavirus had killed 362 people statewide, including 89 in Pima County, according to the report.
In Maricopa County, the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases had risen to 4,751.
“Arizona is headed in the right direction,” Ducey said. “We have a downward trajectory of Influenza and COVID like illnesses. We have a downward trajectory of positive tests...we can treat all patients without crisis care and we are rapidly expanding testing availability.”
The current statewide stay-home order remains in effect until May 15.