Gov. Doug Ducey announced he is rescinding his previous executive order limiting occupancy capacity for restaurants, gyms, theaters, water parks, bowling alleys and bars with dine-in service in a new executive order signed and released Friday.
The governor’s order still keeps the mask mandate and social distancing protocols in place, but businesses can return to full occupancy “effective immediately”.
“We’ve learned a lot over the past year. Our businesses have done an excellent job at responding to this pandemic in a safe and responsible way,” Ducey said. “We will always admire the sacrifice they and their employees have made and their vigilance to protect against the virus.”
Ducey is also giving Spring Training and major league sports the green light to proceed, provided they submit a plan on how they will implement CDC and state guidelines to the Arizona Department of Health Services and it received approval.
The executive order also precludes local municipalities to implement “extreme measures” that would stop businesses from operating.
“Unlike other states, we never did a shutdown here in Arizona. We withstood the calls from the extremes on both sides, and we will continue to ignore them,” Ducey said. “We always knew that fighting this virus would be dependent on the personal responsibility of everyday Arizonans.
While Ducey said the new executive order is a “measured approach” in response to the state’s vaccination efforts, he noted Arizona is “not in the clear yet” and urges citizens to continue proper COVID-19 safety protocols.
Mayor Regina Romero criticized the new executive order's restrictions which prevent local mayors from taking additional action to limit occupancy on a local level.
“Mayors stepped up to lead at a time when our Governor failed to act with common sense, science-based measures, including local mask mandates," Romero said. "Although cases are declining, we must continue to keep our guard up and protect our neighbors and loved ones.”
Read the governor’s complete executive order here.