The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) today announced public health recommendations for the eventual safe reopening of paused businesses in the state of Arizona.
On June 27, Governor Ducey issued Executive Order 2020-43 “Pausing of Arizona’s Reopening.” This paused the reopening of several specific industries with operations that are considered by public health to have a high-risk of spreading COVID-19, specifically gyms and fitness centers, bars and nightclubs, waterparks and tubing, and movie theaters. It also limited indoor and outdoor gatherings to no more than 50 people. Since this pause, Arizona has seen a decline in its percent positivity, an increase in hospital capacity, and an improvement in other indicators. On July 23, that order was extended, with a review every two weeks.
ADHS has been working with several of these industries on guidelines for an eventual reopening and is recommending the following plan based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidance, the White House Coronavirus Task Force metrics, and expert advice from the medical and public health community. The benchmarks are classified into minimal, moderate, and substantial transmission categories as defined by the CDC. Using public health data to inform these benchmarks, Arizona is currently in the substantial transmission phase.
Upon this initial two-week review, ADHS advises keeping these restrictions in place for the time being, but is providing the following metrics for industry leaders and businesses to understand when a general reopening could be considered. Businesses have the opportunity through the attestation process for review of individual circumstances in the event that they are denied the ability to reopen for public health reasons.
All three of the following benchmarks must be met for 14 days, with a 12-day reporting lag period to move from a higher transmission phase to a lower one.
A dashboard available at azhealth.gov/businessCOVID19 indicates whether counties meet the recommended benchmarks for reopening of gyms, movie theaters, waterparks, tubing venues, and bars. Data on the dashboard will be updated weekly on Thursdays.