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Arizona movie theaters, tattoo parlors can reopen Saturday

PHOENIX – Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s office confirmed Wednesday that most businesses deemed nonessential under the state’s stay-at-home order will be allowed to reopen Saturday if they follow guidelines to mitigate the spread of coronavirus.

That includes movie theaters and tattoo parlors, neither of which were mentioned Tuesday when Ducey announced that he was letting his “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” expire as scheduled at 11:59 p.m. Friday.

Ducey spokesman Patrick Ptak told KTAR News 92.3 FM specific guidance will be distributed before then.

Some closures will remain in place for businesses and events where large groups gather.

That means bars will have to wait, as will concerts, festivals and sporting events with fans.

Ptak didn’t have a timeframe for when they could resume.

He also said the state was working to develop guidance for any groups or industries that request it. That’s why the governor’s office issued guidance for churches even though they were never required to close.

Despite the easing restrictions, Harkins Theatres will not not be reopening this Saturday.

Harkins Theatres Marketing Director Jessica Reeves confirmed in an email to KTAR News 92.3 FM that the theatre chain is expecting to reopen in the summer and will focus on safety protocols in the interim.

Reeves added that the company anticipates opening its doors a couple of weeks prior to the release of blockbusters such as “Wonder Woman 1984” and “Mulan,” during which time Harkins Theatres intends to showcase previously released films.

In the past week, a variety of businesses – including hair salons, barbershops, retail stores and restaurants with dine-in service — have been cleared to resume operations if they follow physical distancing and enhanced sanitation guidelines.

Ducey also gave the green light to gyms, fitness centers and pools to reopen starting Wednesday if they take proper precautions.

During Tuesday’s announcement, Ducey pointed to a decrease in positive test result percentage, adequate hospital capacity and expanded testing numbers for reasons Arizona’s coronavirus response is ready to move into a new phase.

On Wednesday morning, the state health department reported totals of 12,176 COVID-19 cases and 594 deaths.

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.
  • May 13: Gyms, fitness center and pools following physical distancing and enhanced sanitation guidelines could start reopening.
  • May 15: Arizona’s stay-at-home order expires at 11:59 p.m., allowing most of the state’s activities to resume. Bars, concerts, festivals and sporting events with fans were excluded.
  • May 16: Ducey’s “Stay Healthy, Return Smarter, Return Stronger” executive order defining the next phase of Arizona’s coronavirus response goes into effect.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Martha Maurer contributed to this report.

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