Ducey Cites COVID Case Rates To Lift Mask Mandates, Open Bars

[Photo credit Pernillan / Creative Commons BY-SA]

On Thursday, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced his decision to lift the state’s restrictive COVID-19 measures. The governor cited the declining case rates and number of vaccinated Arizonans as reasons the measures are no longer necessary.

Ducey’s order still allows businesses to enforce mask mandates if they want, but cities, towns and counties must lift theirs.

According to the Governor’s Office, “3,041,773 doses of COVID-19 vaccine had been administered to 1,927,278 individuals in Arizona, including 1,185,986 who have been fully vaccinated.”

There has also been 10 weeks of declining cases, and hospitalizations at the lowest level since the end of September.

Under the changes announced on Thursday:

Events of more than 50 people will no longer need the approval of local governments. These events should continue to follow safe practices and CDC recommendations, including physical distancing. This includes youth sports.

The business guidance will transition from requirements to recommendations. Governor Ducey is providing businesses with the ability to continue requiring masks and social distancing.

Bars will now be allowed to resume regular operations, with the ability to require social distancing and masks.

“As we’ve said all along, distribution of the vaccine is our best path to getting back to normal, and I want to thank the millions of Arizonans who have rolled up their sleeves to make the distribution and uptake so successful,” said Ducey in a press release. “In Arizona, we never did a shutdown, so it’s impossible to have a grand reopening. Instead, we are continuing to take reasonable, safe and sensible steps. The measures put in place last summer allowed Arizona to fight back COVID-19. I want to thank the local leaders who supported these efforts with their own measures, and the businesses who implemented them. Today, we are in a different spot, and we are also a lot smarter. I’m confident Arizona’s businesses and citizens will continue to practice the fundamentals and act responsibly as we gradually get back to normal.”

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