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Mayor Gallego: Coronavirus surge due to Arizona reopening ‘way too early’

(Twitter screenshot/@ThisWeekABC)

PHOENIX — Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said on Sunday that Arizona’s surge in coronavirus cases is the result of the state reopening prematurely.

“We opened way too early in Arizona,” Gallego told ABC’s This Week.

Additionally, the behavior of many Arizonans is also contributing to an increase in COVID-19 cases, according to Gallego.

“We had crowded nightclubs handing out free champagne, no masks … Our 20 to 44 year olds … really led the explosion,” she said.

“We’re seeing a lot of people go to large family gatherings and infect their family members.”

As of Sunday morning, 20 to 44 year olds accounted for 49,003 of the state’s 98,089 virus cases and 108 of the 1,809 total deaths, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

In an effort to combat the state’s increasing coronavirus numbers, Gov. Doug Ducey issued an executive order on Monday ordering a 30-day closure of bars, nightclubs, gyms, movie theaters and water parks.

Ducey said gatherings of 50 people or more would also be prohibited as a result, though he clarified that political rallies, protests and churches aren’t subject to the new order.

The executive order also came after videos and images of large crowds gathering at various Old Town Scottsdale venues flooded social media, particularly following the Memorial Day holiday weekend.

After the Scottsdale nightclub Riot House was charged on June 25 with violating Arizona regulations designed to combat the spread of COVID-19, several other Scottsdale bars announced they would be temporarily closing their doors due to a rise in coronavirus cases.

The Republican governor had initially issued a statewide stay-at-home order that began on March 31 and, after an extension, expired on May 15. Ducey had allowed restaurants to resume dine-in options on May 11 and gave gyms the green light to reopen on May 13.

For Arizona vaccine information, visit azdhs.gov/findvaccine.

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

Arizona open and hiring: If you’re looking for job openings, visit ktar.com/arizonahiring.

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