With Declining Cases And Hospitalizations At Lowest Levels In Months,
Business Guidelines Transition From Requirements To Recommendations
PHOENIX — With the state of Arizona hitting several important public health benchmarks, Governor Doug Ducey today announced several updates to the state's COVID-19 measures, including on events, businesses and local ordinances.
Several key data points contributed to these changes:
-Mass distribution of the vaccine:
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.
-10 weeks of declining cases.
-Hospitalizations at the lowest level since the end of September/beginning of October.
-Opening of vaccine appointments to all Arizonans 16 years of age and older.
-A recent evaluation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that ranks Arizona among the best states in the nation for getting the COVID-19 vaccine to vulnerable communities.
-President Biden's recent promise that every American will be able to be vaccinated by May 1.
Under the changes announced by Governor Ducey:
-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 have already been allowed to operate as "dine-in" at full capacity. They will now be allowed to resume regular operations, with the ability to require social distancing and masks.
-Unlike some other states, Arizona never issued a statewide mask mandate, and instead encouraged personal responsibility with an aggressive educational campaign — resulting in more widespread mask usage than states with mandates. Some local governments have implemented "mandates," however, they have rarely, if ever, been enforced. Under this latest action, those local mandates will be phased out. Mask usage is still encouraged, especially in groups that are not vaccinated.