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COVID-19 benchmarks say shuttered metro Phoenix businesses can open

(AP Photo/Anupam Nath)

PHOENIX – Gyms, bars operating as restaurants, theaters, water parks and tubing operators can start reopening in metro Phoenix and other regions that met Arizona’s COVID-19 business benchmarks Thursday morning.

Maricopa, Pima, Apache and Navajo joined the list of counties in the moderate spread stage, as defined by the Arizona Department of Health Services based on the latest data on three metrics measuring the prevalence of the coronavirus.

They joined Yavapai, Cochise, Greenlee, Coconino and La Paz counties in the reopening range. Greenlee actually became the first Arizona county to enter the minimal spread stage.

That means impacted businesses in nine of the state’s 15 counties have been cleared to resume operations, and three more are on pace to join them next week.

Spread stage is based on benchmarks in three metrics that must be hit for at least the two most recent weeks of data, which is updated each Thursday on the state’s COVID-19 business dashboard.

The moderate spread range is defined as 10-100 cases of COVID-19 per 100,000 residents, a PCR test positive percentage rate of 5-10% and a rate of hospital visits for COVID-like illness of 5-10%.

Maricopa County had been below the moderate threshold for the COVID-like illness rate and has now been moderate in the other two metrics for two weeks.

The benchmark data updated each week is at least 12 days old to account for lags in reporting, ensuring that assessments are based on accurate statistics. Therefore, Thursday’s report covers the weeks starting Aug. 2 and 9 (through Aug. 15).

Further levels of reopening will be permitted when spread improves to the minimal level for at least two weeks, defined as fewer than 10 cases per 100,000 residents, a positive test rate below 5% and a hospital COVID-like illness rate below 5%.

The businesses that were closed under Gov. Doug Ducey’s June 29 executive order and are located in moderate spread counties are allowed to reopen under capacity restrictions and while following other health safety requirements that vary by industry.

Once the moderate benchmarks are hit, a business has to submit an online attestation form and post it in a conspicuous location at the facility before it resumes operations.

Indoor gyms and fitness centers can operate at 25% of capacity in the moderate range and 50% of capacity in the minimal range.

Bars and nightclubs that offer dine-in restaurant service can operate at 50% of capacity in both the moderate and minimal ranges.

Indoor theaters are limited to 50% capacity in both the moderate and minimal ranges.

Water parks/tubing operators can operate at 50% capacity in both the moderate and minimal ranges.

Businesses that were allowed to reopen under strict plans approved by the state before the benchmarks were met can now increase their service to the moderate stage levels.

Here’s a county-by-county look at the benchmark status after the latest weekly update:

Apache — Moderate community spread or better for all three benchmarks. Indoor fitness centers, bars and nightclubs providing dine-in services, indoor theaters, water parks and tubing facilities allowed to reopen in accordance with state requirements.

Cochise — Moderate community spread or better for all three benchmarks. Indoor fitness centers, bars and nightclubs providing dine-in services, indoor theaters, water parks and tubing facilities allowed to reopen in accordance with state requirements.

Coconino — Moderate community spread or better for all three benchmarks. Indoor fitness centers, bars and nightclubs providing dine-in services, indoor theaters, water parks and tubing facilities allowed to reopen in accordance with state requirements.

Gila — Substantial community spread, meeting two benchmarks in moderate range or better: COVID-like illness and percent positivity. At least two weeks until meeting all three.

Graham — Substantial community spread, meeting one benchmark in moderate range or better: COVID-like illness. At least two weeks until meeting all three.

Greenlee — Minimal community spread for all three benchmarks. Indoor fitness centers, bars and nightclubs providing dine-in services, indoor theaters, water parks and tubing facilities allowed to reopen in accordance with state requirements.

La Paz — Moderate community spread or better for all three benchmarks. Indoor fitness centers, bars and nightclubs providing dine-in services, indoor theaters, water parks and tubing facilities allowed to reopen in accordance with state requirements.

Maricopa — Moderate community spread or better for all three benchmarks. Indoor fitness centers, bars and nightclubs providing dine-in services, indoor theaters, water parks and tubing facilities allowed to reopen in accordance with state requirements.

Mohave — Substantial community spread, meeting two benchmarks in moderate range or better: COVID-like illness and cases per 100,000. On pace to meet all three next week.

Navajo — Moderate community spread or better for all three benchmarks. Indoor fitness centers, bars and nightclubs providing dine-in services, indoor theaters, water parks and tubing facilities allowed to reopen in accordance with state requirements.

Pima — Moderate community spread or better for all three benchmarks. Indoor fitness centers, bars and nightclubs providing dine-in services, indoor theaters, water parks and tubing facilities allowed to reopen in accordance with state requirements.

Pinal — Substantial community spread, meeting two benchmarks in moderate range or better: COVID-like illness and percent positivity. On pace to meet all three next week.

Santa Cruz — Substantial community spread, meeting two benchmarks in moderate range or better: COVID-like illness and cases per 100,000. On pace to meet all three next week.

Yavapai — Moderate community spread or better for all three benchmarks. Indoor fitness centers, bars and nightclubs providing dine-in services, indoor theaters, water parks and tubing facilities allowed to reopen in accordance with state requirements.

Yuma — Substantial community spread, meeting one benchmark in moderate range or better: COVID-like illness. At least two weeks until meeting all three.

  • Editor’s note: An earlier version of this story said Pinal County met all three moderate benchmarks. However the reported cases per 100,000 there for the week of Aug. 2 rose since last week’s update, so the county is still short of the benchmark in that category for at least another week.
  • 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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