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Phoenix area expected to meet COVID-19 business benchmarks Thursday

(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

PHOENIX – Get ready to open, metro Phoenix businesses. Tucson and Casa Grande, too.

That was the message Tuesday from Dr. Cara Christ, director of the Arizona Department of Health Services.

“Based on current data, ADHS anticipates that Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties will be in the moderate range for business reopening when the Business Data Dashboard updates this Thursday,” Christ wrote in a blog post.

The COVID-19 benchmark data that determines the fate of businesses impacted by Gov. Doug Ducey’s June 29 closure order — indoor gyms, bars/nightclubs, indoor theaters, water parks and tubing operators — are updated every Thursday.

Four Arizona counties were in the moderate stage, the first level of reopening, in last week’s update: Yavapai, Cochise, Greenlee and Coconino.

A fifth, La Paz, was moderate two weeks ago, fell out last week and is on pace to return Thursday. Christ previously has said businesses in counties that enter an opening phase but fall out won’t be immediately shut back down.

Christ said businesses that have applied for reopening in Maricopa, Pima and Pinal have been sent the following message:

Thank you for your application for approval to reopen pursuant to Emergency Measure 2020-02 for BUSINESS NAME.

ADHS anticipates that Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal Counties will be in the moderate transmission category when the ADHS business dashboard updates on Thursday. Therefore, on Thursday, August 27, 2020, you will likely be eligible to reopen if you attest to comply with all the requirements for your business type. If this occurs, your application to reopen will no longer be necessary. Instead, on Thursday, please check the dashboard here and if your county is in the moderate transmission category, complete the attestation form to complete the process to reopen. Upon completion and submission of the attestation, you will be able to reopen consistent with the attestation and the requirements.

Please note that when you complete the attestation form, you are agreeing to comply with ALL requirements listed in the ADHS COVID-19 Guidance for Businesses, which include limitations for occupancy and required masks for all staff and patrons. If ADHS becomes aware of actions taken by a business that reopens which jeopardize the health, safety, and welfare of the public, ADHS will take action as necessary to protect the health, safety, and welfare of the public.

Christ said businesses that reopen in the cleared counties without taking the required COVID-19 mitigation measures “will be subject to strict enforcement.”

“The Department will continue to partner with local authorities, county health departments, and other state agencies to ensure proper compliance and protect the health and safety of customers and employees,” she wrote.

She is urging Arizonans to remain vigilant once counties are back in business.

“It is important that we continue to wear masks when in public, physically distance, and stay home when sick,” she wrote. “These strategies will keep our metrics trending in the right direction.”

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