• Arizona
  • Thursday , Feb 1 , 2018
6 minutes reading time (1286 words)

Governor Ducey issues executive order eliminating capacity restrictions on businesses

duceyexecutiveorder
Gov. Doug Ducey announced Friday the next phase for COVID-19 protocols for businesses and safety as he lifts capacity restrictions on certain businesses.

Ducey said in a press release that the new protocols come after seven weeks of declining coronavirus cases across the state and as Arizona has administered more than 2 million vaccine doses. His order does not change mask mandates imposed by cities and counties, which remain in effect across most of the state.

Many restaurant owners like Sheldon Knapp of Phoenix City Grille are excited about the announcement.

"My immediate reaction was to kind of do somersaults through the restaurant," he said.

But he quickly realized that his restaurant isn't big enough to actually increase the number of customers beyond what he already has.

"We immediately ran and grabbed a table and put it in the bar, but after we read through it, I'm not going to be able to keep it," he said. "It really is not gonna help us because the tables are already spaced six feet apart. I can't really add any more seating and still abide by those rules."

The decision to lift capacity restrictions applies to gyms, restaurants, theaters, water parks, bowling alleys and bars providing dine-in services. Ducey again ignored the guidance issued by his own administration last year, which says those businesses should be closed altogether under the current "substantial" level of virus spread across most of Arizona. 

"We've learned a lot over the past year," said Gov. Ducey said in a statement. "Our businesses have done an excellent job at responding to this pandemic in a safe and responsible way. We will always admire the sacrifice they and their employees have made and their vigilance to protect against the virus."

Not all business owners are on board with the changes.

"I think the timing's off," said Chris Scheimann, owner of Tangible Fitness in Phoenix. "I would like to get through spring break and see what happens."

Scheimann is going to keep his gym at 25% capacity by his own choice. Aside from his concerns over people traveling far and wide during spring break, he's also hesitant to drop his scheduling system, which only allows up to 40 people in at a time.

"I think it's their choice. And people still have a choice as to where they want to go. And we're providing a safe choice," he said.

Ducey took a more cautious stance than his fellow Republican governors in Mississippi and Texas, who this week rescinded their mask mandates and capacity restrictions entirely in a swift return to normal. Arizona has not had a statewide mask mandate.

"Today's announcement is a measured approach; we are not in the clear yet," Ducey said. "We need to continue practicing personal responsibility. Wear a mask. Social distance. Stay home when you're sick and wash your hands frequently."

The move was met with opposition from most of the state's big hospital chains, including Banner, Dignity, HonorHealth, Tenet and Northern Arizona Healthcare.

""The COVID-19 mitigation strategies throughout the state are reasonable and evidence-based. Now is not the time to relax our mitigation efforts; we must stay the course to ensure that our vaccination efforts can outpace the spread of the virus," the Health System Alliance of Arizona wrote in a statement.

Several Arizona doctors weighed in as well, echoing similar statements.

"It's just a really fine line were walking right now because if we don't take this seriously for just a short while longer there is always the potential that this aggressive virus will be able to take hold somewhere and we can see another outbreak and obviously none of us want that to happen," says Dr. Kyle Freese, Chief Epidemiologist for STC Health.

Dr. Frank LoVecchio, an emergency medicine physician, agrees, but also understands the plight for local businesses.

"Of course, if you wait a few more months from now and more of us will be vaccinated and then there is less chances of us ending up in a hospital and potential deaths, but you have to balance that with the fact that there are losses of businesses losing income," said Dr. LoVecchio.

Sal DiCiccio, a conservative member of the Phoenix City Council, thanked Ducey "for opening up Arizona."

"Businesses have been hurting greatly and now there will be no restrictions on the number of people," DiCiccio wrote on Twitter. "This is a major win towards full recovery."

Until Friday, gyms were required to operate at 25% of their typical capacity while restaurants, movie theaters and water parks could operate at up to 50%. Ducey's order lifts those restrictions but maintains other requirements, including mask requirements while not eating and social distancing between parties.

Baseball teams can play spring training games with a state-approved plan for safety protocols and physical distancing. The Cactus League and leaders of cities with stadiums in January asked MLB to delay spring training. COVID-19 case counts have dropped since then, and games began last week with limited fans.

Arizona has passed the 2 million mark for COVID-19 vaccine doses administered to 1.3 million people, including 711,074 people who have received two doses, the Department of Health Services said Friday.

"This is certainly a milestone, but there is plenty of work ahead and millions more Arizonans in need of vaccination," said Dr. Cara Christ, the department's director.

Ducey's executive order can be found here.

Ducey's Press Release can be read below:

Governor Doug Ducey today announced the next phase of COVID-19 mitigation. With cases dropping in Arizona, and vaccine distribution underway, it's still important to keep our guard up, and these protocols reflect that approach.

The announcement follows 7 weeks of declining cases in Arizona, and the distribution of more than 2 million vaccines.

The following changes are reflected in a new Executive Order from Governor Ducey:

  • For businesses, physical distancing and mask protocols will remain in place, however specific occupancy percentage limitations will expire. This applies to restaurants, gyms, theaters, water parks, bowling alleys, and bars providing dine in services.
  • Spring Training and Major League Sports will have the ability to operate upon submission and approval of a plan to the Arizona Department of Health Services that demonstrates implementation of safety precautions and physical distancing.
  • Mayors and local entities will still be precluded from implementing extreme measures that shut down businesses.

"We've learned a lot over the past year," said Governor Ducey. "Our businesses have done an excellent job at responding to this pandemic in a safe and responsible way. We will always admire the sacrifice they and their employees have made and their vigilance to protect against the virus.

"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. We always knew that fighting this virus would be dependent on the personal responsibility of everyday Arizonans.

"Like the rest of the country, Arizona has made its way out of the winter surge of cases. And we are leading the nation in the vaccination roll out. Our mitigation strategies have been targeted and data driven.

"Today's announcement is a measured approach; we are not in the clear yet. We need to continue practicing personal responsibility. Wear a mask. Social distance. Stay home when you're sick and wash your hands frequently.

"With the vaccine rollout advancing rapidly, we continue to have hope for the future."

Font size: +
Pecan Treatment Facility Expansion Underway
SR 24 on-ramp at Ellsworth Rd Closures – RESCHEDUL...
 

Comments

No comments made yet. Be the first to submit a comment
Already Registered? Login Here
Guest
Wednesday, 12 May 2021
If you'd like to register, please fill in the username, password and name fields.

Captcha Image

By accepting you will be accessing a service provided by a third-party external to https://santanvalley.com/

Stay Connected

J.M. Kuhstoss Remodeling Pros

J.M. Kuhstoss Remodeling Pros

San Tan Valley, Pinal County
Florence Unified School District

Florence Unified School District

Florence, Pinal County
Rural Metro Fire

Rural Metro Fire

San Tan Valley, Pinal County
Leading Edge Academy

Leading Edge Academy

San Tan Valley, Pinal County
Taseko Florence Copper

Taseko Florence Copper

Florence, Pinal County
LA Fitness

LA Fitness

San Tan Valley, Pinal County
No More Stink

No More Stink

San Tan Valley, Pinal County
Pan de Vida Foundation

Pan de Vida Foundation

Queen Creek, Maricopa County

Daily News

Wait a minute, while we are rendering the calendar

What's Trending

May 03, 2021 Arizona News Hits:1316

Phx-Mesa Gateway Airport welcomes Sun Country Airl…

Phoenix Mesa Gateway Airport is happy to welcome Sun Country Airlines.Sun Country Airlines has announced new nonstop service between Gateway Airport and Minneapolis, Minnesota (MSP)! The service...

Upcoming Events

13 May
Virtual Healthy Living with Diabetes Workshop
05.13.2021 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens is...

Read more

16 May
Bingo!
05.16.2021 12:00 pm

It's time for Bingo at the San Tan Valley...

Read more

18 May
San Tan Leads Meeting
05.18.2021 7:30 am - 9:00 am

San Tan Leads is a one person per industry...

Read more

20 May
Virtual Healthy Living with Diabetes Workshop
05.20.2021 12:00 pm - 1:30 pm

Pinal-Gila Council for Senior Citizens is...

Read more

23 May
Bingo!
05.23.2021 12:00 pm

It's time for Bingo at the San Tan Valley...

Read more

Partners

Advertise your business to hundreds of thousands of potential customers, while supporting your local news resource at the same time. Our Partners help us provide you with services and information to help keep you informed.

Become A Partner

Follow Us

0
Our San Tan Valley Community Keeps Growing!

San Tan Valley News

About SanTanValley.com

About SanTanValley.com

Search