(Facebook Photo/Mayor Kate Gallego)

PHOENIX — Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego believes the new executive order lifting capacity limits on restaurants and other business is sending the wrong message to Arizonans.

“It’s a huge disincentive for the people who are playing by the rules,” Gallego told KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad on Friday.

“I understand there’s great political pressure to make changes but I think it’s better to follow public health advice which is to stay the course.”

COVID-19 metrics have been improving around the state, with public health officials reporting 2,276 new coronavirus cases and 84 additional deaths Friday.

Arizona has also made strides in vaccinations, reaching the milestone of 2 million COVID-19 vaccine doses on Friday, and prompting Gov. Doug Ducey’s actions.

“This executive order sends a signal that everything is OK and we can go back to getting rid of precautions,” Gallego said. “We’re not there yet and I’m worried people will want to do the right thing but take the wrong message from the governor’s executive order.”

Mitigation protocols such as physical distancing and mask wearing remain in place as business return to full capacity, the order states.

The mayor said she was not aware of Ducey’s decision before it was announced.

Her biggest concern is that the order will create confusion about how serious the disease still is and make it harder to continue enforcement on businesses that don’t comply with the regulations.

Gallego continued to urge Arizonans to be careful, especially those with significant health challenges who may not be vaccinated yet.

“People want to do the right thing but when they’re getting a message that we can go back to old traditions, people are eager for that,” she said. “We’re close. The light is at the end of the tunnel but now is not the time to relax and go back to 2019.”


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