Several Arizona counties expecting to reach COVID-19 benchmarks, allowing for business re-openings

Businesses will be required to follow health guidelines upon reopening.

MARICOPA COUNTY, Ariz. – Much of Arizona is on the verge of a major milestone in the fight against COVID-19.

By Aug. 27, it’s likely for Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties to meet the benchmarks for reopening some businesses — showing the state has moved from “substantial” to “moderate” spread.

This means bars, gyms and theaters would be allowed to reopen at reduced capacities.

Business owners say that something is better than nothing when it comes to remaining closed.

LIST: Arizona businesses that have been approved to reopen

Hundreds of businesses have been applying to reopen, but are getting denied by the state. But, it seems the state’s own guidelines will give the go-ahead for business to open back up once counties reach the benchmark.

The Yucca Tap Room in Tempe has been running on suds and scraps for several months, laying off employees and pivoting to delivery and take out.

All of it seeming somewhat unfair to the owner.

“Our customers will say, ‘I’m able to go down the street to the Olive Garden and whatever restaurant and we’re just hanging out drinking there all day long,'” owner, Rodney Hu said.

Finally, he sees some light at the end of the tunnel.

Maricopa County is on the doorstep of the meeting moderate transmission benchmark over the past two weeks, meaning under 100 cases per 100,000 people with a positivity test rate below 10%.

“I think the credit really goes to Arizonans wearing masks when they’re out, staying home when they’re sick and practicing good hand hygiene. We couldn’t have done it if it was it wasn’t for compliance on those type things,” said Dr. Cara Christ, Director of Arizona Department of Health Services.

Bars, gyms and theaters can reopen under several restrictions.
For bars, it’s 50% capacity.

Masks, social distance, increased cleaning and employee temperature taking, will also be required.

The community is encouraged to keep an eye on these establishments, making sure they follow health protocols.

“If we go in and somebody’s putting the public health in danger we can immediately shut them down. However, we regulate a lot of different businesses. We do try to bring them into compliance before we have to take that type of action,” Christ explained.

Christ says if Arizonans stop doing those things that got us here, the masks and social distancing, we could very well go back to the “substantial spread” category.

If you see an establishment breaking the rules,  you can report it to your local law enforcement agency or state health department either online or by phone.

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