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Ducey announces Arizona gyms, pools can reopen Wednesday

(Marius Becker/dpa via AP)

PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey on Tuesday announced that gyms and pools in Arizona can reopen Wednesday after being closed for the last two months because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Gyms have been closed across the state since March 20.

Gyms and pools are able to reopen by implementing CDC guidelines.

The governor’s office issued guidance for gyms to reopen including staying six feet apart, using touchless payments and using hand sanitizer after visiting the gym. They also said people at a higher risk and those over 65 years of age should avoid gyms and fitness providers.

The reopening of gyms is the most recent step Ducey has taken to gradually re-energize the state.

The office provided guidance for pools including physical distancing, disinfecting equipment and hand washing stations near the pool.

Despite Ducey’s decision, Pima County announced in a press release that it would not open pools or splash pads to the public on Wednesday, citing the need for additional scrutiny and guidelines from its back to business steering committee.

According to the CDC, there is no evidence that COVID-19 can be spread through water in pools, hot tubs, spas or water play areas.

On Friday, salons and barbershops were allowed to reopen with enhanced social distancing guidelines.

More recently, restaurants on Monday were once again able to provide dine-in service on a limited basis with several restrictions.

Ducey announced the new order would be Stay Healthy, Return Smarter, Return Stronger.

Here’s a timeline of Arizona’s major steps over the course of the coronavirus pandemic:

  • March 11: Ducey declared a state of emergency designed to provide hospitals and health care facilities the flexibility to enhance their safety protocols. The state had nine confirmed COVID-19 cases at the time.
  • March 16: Closure of the state’s public district and charter schools began. The initial announcement made the previous day by Ducey and Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman said the closure would last at least through March 27.
  • March 19: Ducey issued an order closing bars and restricting restaurants to takeout and delivery service in counties with confirmed coronavirus cases. Movie theaters, gyms and other businesses where people gathered were also ordered closed in those counties. Arizona had 44 reported cases spread over seven of its 15 counties at the time. Ducey also ordered that elective surgeries be delayed to free up resources and hospital space.
  • March 20: Ducey and Hoffman extended the K-12 schools closure at least through April 10, two weeks longer than the initial plan.
  • March 23: Ducey issued an executive order that listed the businesses deemed essential that would be exempt should a shutdown be enacted. The list was criticized for including barber shops, salons and golf courses.
  • March 30: Ducey and Hoffman announced that the remainder of the school year was being canceled. The state had 919 cases of COVID-19 and 17 deaths at the time.
  • March 31: Ducey’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” executive order, announced the previous day, went into effect. It was initially set to last until at least April 30. It required Arizona residents to remain in their homes except for essential needs and to spend time outdoors while social distancing. The state had 1,157 coronavirus cases and 20 deaths when the order was announced.
  • April 4: Revisions to Ducey’s essential businesses list, which were announced the previous day, went into effect, shutting down salons, barber shops, tattoo parlors, spas and massage.
  • April 22: Ducey announced that the ban on elective surgeries for hospitals and health care providers meeting certain preparedness criteria will be lifted May 1.
  • April 29: Ducey announced that the stay-at-home order would be extended until May 15, with some modifications.
  • May 8: Retail shops, hair salons and barbershops that followed new health guidelines were allowed to reopen under the revised stay-at-home order.
  • May 11: Restaurants adhering to guidelines were given the green light to resume dine-in service.

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