Gov. Doug Ducey announces executive order 'pausing' operations at bars, gyms, movie theaters and more; pushes school year start to Aug. 17

Gov. Doug Ducey at a press conference June 29 announced executive orders "pausing operations" of bars, gyms, movie theaters, waterparks and tubing and moved the start of the 2020-21 school year to Aug. 17.

The order pausing operations at businesses begins June 29 at 8 p.m., according to the governor. The start date for the upcoming academic year was presented as a "target date" and will be revisited, Ducey said. The governor said that distance learning can begin before that Aug. 17 target date—he later called the date "aspirational."

"We are going to do everything we can to protect people in this state going forward," Ducey said. "This is a dangerous virus and we need to slow it down and contain it."

Ducey said the targeted reopening date for the businesses that must pause operations is July 29. To get authorization to reopen, businesses will need to complete and submit a form from the Arizona Department of Health Service that attest the entity is in compliance with guidance issued by the state department of health.

Bars, per the governor's executive order, mean an entity that holds a series 6 or 7 liquor license from the Department of Liquor License and Control and whose "primary business is the sale or dispensing of alcoholic beverages." But bars may continue to serve the public through pick up, delivery and drive-through operations.

Also effective June 29, Ducey announced an executive order stating that organized events of more than 50 people are prohibited and gave additional guidance on public pools.

"Pools operated as part of a public accommodation, such as those at hotels but not those at multi-housing complexes, shall prohibit groups larger than 10 from congregating together in or near the pool," reads the executive order. "Privately owned pools located in public areas such as those at multi-housing complexes or other privately owned facilities may continue to be open provided that signage is included at all entrances to the pool reminding people to maintain physical distance and that groups larger than 10 should not congregate."

Ducey also announced a grant program for long-term care facilities where the facilities will receive $10,000 for the purchase of electronic devices to facilitate video conferencing between residents and their families.

"We have been preparing since March, April and through May for what is upon us in Arizona right now," Ducey said. "We are prepared for what’s coming. We simply cannot let up."

As of June 29, the Arizona Department of Health Services reported 74,533 total COVID-19 cases and 1,588 known deaths related to the virus. Ducey said the number of cases is expected to continue to grow.

"Our expectation is that our numbers will be worse," Ducey said. "It will take several weeks for the mitigations we put in place to take effect, but they will take effect. It will not happen overnight, but it will happen."

Ducey encouraged the continued use of masks and said Arizonans should remain at home if they do not need to go out.

"We are not going back to normal any time soon," Ducey said."


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