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Ducey lifts capacity limits on Arizona businesses, including restaurants

(KTAR News Photo/Kevin Stone)

PHOENX – Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Friday that capacity limitations on restricted businesses, including restaurants, are being lifted because of improving COVID-19 metrics and strides in vaccine distribution.

However, mitigation protocols such as physical distancing and mask wearing remain in place, per a new executive order.

“Like the rest of the country, Arizona has made its way out of the winter surge of cases,” Ducey said in a press release. “And we are leading the nation in the vaccination roll out. Our mitigation strategies have been targeted and data driven.

“Today’s announcement is a measured approach; we are not in the clear yet. We need to continue practicing personal responsibility. Wear a mask. Social distance. Stay home when you’re sick and wash your hands frequently.”

With the announcement, Arizona joined multiple states and cities across the nation in easing coronavirus restrictions recently.

Many Arizona businesses were closed under Ducey’s executive order last June while coronavirus cases and hospitalizations surged. The order covered bars, nightclubs, gyms, indoor theaters and water parks.

He followed that up in July by ordering restaurants to limit indoor dining to 50% occupancy.

The the Arizona Department of Health Services developed a system that allowed the closed businesses to reopen in counties where COVID-19 spread levels fell below certain benchmarks.

However, they could only open if they followed COVID-19 mitigation strategies and limited capacity as specified by the state, which varied by business type.

By October, the impacted businesses in every county had been allowed to reopen, but they didn’t receive clearance to operate without capacity caps until Friday.

After spiking to record levels in January, Arizona’s coronavirus case and hospitalization numbers have plummeted to their lowest levels in months.

The state surpassed 2 million vaccine doses administered on Friday, and more than 18% of the population has received at least one shot.

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