Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has ordered the closure of bars, gyms, movie theaters, nightclubs and water parks across the state for 30 days in an effort to combat a spike in coronavirus cases.
“Our numbers continue to increase,” Ducey said at a Monday news conference in Phoenix. “In Arizona, they’re going in the wrong direction and we’re going to take some additional action today to contain this virus and get back on track.”
He also re-imposed a ban on indoor and outdoor gatherings of 50 or more people. He said the state Department of Liquor Licenses and Control will suspend special-event licenses. Cities and counties will have the authority to approve large events, but only if certain protocols are met.
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Groups larger than 10 people are also prohibited from congregating at public swimming pools. Private pools in apartments and multi-housing complexes must post signage requiring social distancing and limiting groups of 10 or more, according to the order.
Ducey also delayed the start of school until Aug. 17. During his announcement, he pleaded with Arizonans to wear masks and to stay at home when possible to reduce the risk of transmission.
“Remember, you are safer at home,” Ducey said. “If you don’t need to go out, don’t go out.”
His orders can be extended if the number of COVID-19 cases doesn’t decline by a significant margin, he said.
Most bars and nightclubs reopened after Ducey let his stay-at-home and business closures expire in May. Bars that don’t serve food were allowed to reopen, a loophole that led to packed venues and almost no way to practice social distancing, according to The Associated Press.
Arizona is one of a handful of states to re-impose restriction amid a resurgence in coronavirus cases after reopening its economy. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott ordered bars closed and the reduction of restaurant service last week after its coronavirus infection rate hit nearly 12 percent.
Other states are scaling back their planned reopenings amid the coronavirus surge.
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In Miami-Dade County, officials announced the closure of its pristine beaches ahead of the busy July 4 weekend, less than a month after reopening.
Arizona officials announced 3,858 additional COVID-19 cases Sunday, the most reported in a single day since the pandemic took hold in the state. Statewide, health officials reported more than 74,500 coronavirus cases as of Monday, as well as more than 1,580 deaths.