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Ducey says dine-in service can resume at restaurants in Arizona on May 11

(KTAR News Photo/Peter Samore)

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday announced that restaurants can begin resuming dine-in service on a limited basis on May 11.

Ducey said restaurants and coffee shops will only be able to operate with limited occupancy and with built-in social distancing precautions as the state continues to fight off the coronavirus.

Parties will be limited to no more than 10 people while more comprehensive sanitation techniques and employee guidelines will be implemented, Ducey said.

“This is a safe and good option at this time and they will have a full week in which to prepare,” Ducey said at a press conference.

Ducey released a full list of recommendations in conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for restaurants and customers upon reopening.

For customers, Ducey recommends dining during off-peak hours, using touchless pay methods and avoiding dine-in for the most at-risk populations.

Additional restaurants guidelines include implementing a symptom screening system for employees prior to the start of a shift and considering offering masks to wait staff and hosts.

The plan for the reopening of dining rooms comes after Ducey on Wednesday extended the state’s “stay-at-home” order until May 15.

Ducey said then that he was in the process of putting a plan in place to help reopen dine-in service in a limited capacity some time in May.

“We expect our dining rooms to fill up rather quickly,” Steve Chucri, president and CEO of the Arizona Restaurant Association, said Monday on KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Gaydos and Chad.

Restaurants across the states have only been operating via drive-thru and take-out options since mid-March.

The move forced restaurants to close and lay off staff because of budget shortfalls.

Some restaurants in the state even began ignoring Ducey’s order, opting to allow dine-in service before the order expired.

The Horseshoe Cafe in Wickenburg opened for dine-in business last week because the owner, 65-year-old Debbie Thompson, said it couldn’t survive two more weeks of only take-out as an option.

Normally the restaurant makes $700 to $900 a day. In the last six weeks, it has been lucky to make $100 a day, she said.

“I’m a widow trying to do my best here,” Thompson said.

Arizona had reported 8,919 cases of coronavirus and 362 deaths as of Monday morning.

For all articles, information and updates on the coronavirus from KTAR News, visit ktar.com/coronavirus.

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