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Arizona to work with businesses in counties with rising COVID-19 metrics

(KTAR News Photo/ Peter Samore)

PHOENIX – Arizona businesses in counties with increasing coronavirus metrics could be at risk of moving into the substantial spread category, but changes that come with that move wouldn’t immediately take effect.

During a press conference Thursday, Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ said the state plans to work with counties that are seeing coronavirus metrics rise and fall implement mitigation strategies.

“We are seeing that there are counties that will likely go back into substantial spread starting next week, so we are starting to work with those county health departments to identify if there are targeted areas where we can work specifically with those business owners,” Christ said.

“We want to avoid closing down if we can.”

Pima and Coconino counties reported increases in cases per 100,000 individuals in Thursday’s dashboard update. While the counties are at risk of moving into the substantial spread category, they’ll have a chance to work with AZDHS to implement mitigation strategies.

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey chimed in, reaffirming that the state will remain open.

“Arizona is open. Arizona’s economy is open,” Ducey said.

“The expectation is they are going to remain open. We are not going to be, due to a gradual rise in cases, be making any dramatic changes. We should expect a rise in cases.”

The 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 business dashboard.

Businesses that are classified as indoor gyms, bars operating as restaurants, theaters, water parks and tubing operators are subject to the requirements.

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