Citing a decreasing COVID case rate and the fact that over 3 million doses of the COVID vaccine have been administered, Governor Doug Ducey on Thursday announced his decision to lift some restrictions.
As of today, “events of more than 50 people will no longer need the approval of local governments. Events should continue to follow safe practices and CDC recommendations, including physical distancing. This includes youth sports.”
Bars will now be allowed to resume regular operations, with the ability to require social distancing and masks.
As per Ducey’s new announcement, the business guidance he previously issued will “transition from requirements to recommendations.”
Ducey received pushback from Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman when it comes to activities for the young. Despite the science which shows that children are not super spreaders, Hoffman is insisting that small children in schools be required to wear masks.
UPDATE: @AZDHS Emergency Measure 2020-04 is still in effect, requiring masks in all K12 schools. I’m relieved to hear this as masking is one of the top mitigation strategies for safe in-person learning as recommended by the @CDCgov. https://t.co/RFLGXxGOhb
— Kathy Hoffman (@Supt_Hoffman) March 25, 2021
Two weeks ago, Governor Greg Abbott lifted the mask mandate in Texas. Since then, COVID hospitalizations are down by 21 percent statewide.
Ducey is providing businesses with the ability to continue requiring masks and social distancing.
Democrats and local leaders are not happy about losing control:
Why are you still fear mongering? We are vaccinating quickly, many people will still choose to mask up and we had two surges all while our response stayed the same. https://t.co/yPHnh7FsAQ
— George Khalaf (@George_Khalaf) March 25, 2021
Support and opposition to the governor’s move fell along party lines, with the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors Chair Jack Seller’s expressing support:
— Maricopa County (@maricopacounty) March 25, 2021
“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.”