Arizona Governor Doug Ducey held a press conference Wednesday in which he announced the extension of the state’s stay-at-home order through May 15th, with some modifications.
Ducey said Arizona will be ‘phasing in’ a gradual economic return over the next number of weeks, balancing it with public health.
“I have a sense of urgency and I want to reopen,” Ducey said, “I just want to do it at the right time and I want it to be successful.”
Ducey said he wanted to avoid having to ask people to shut down again.
On May 4th, non-essential retailers will be allowed to partially reopen, offering delivery service, window service, walk-up service, drive-through service, curbside delivery or appointment, provided they establish protocols to ensure social distancing. On May 8th, those same retailers can accept customers into their stores, but with limited capacity and social distancing. Fitting rooms will stay closed.
Dine-in restaurants are being singled out for a special plan that will be released next week, working with the restaurant industry, in a way that expands dine-in options during the month of May. The best-case scenario is May 12th, according to Ducey, but it would be in coordination with the industry and under CDC guidance, with plenty of notice for restaurants.
“Our goal is to do this sometime in May. When you do walk in to one of those opened restaurants for dine-in, it will be a temporary, different experience with food service workers and service workers wearing masks,” Ducey said.
Bars that do not have sit-down dining will come later, he added. Elective surgeries will be back on Friday.
Watch the press conference
“I intend to reopen the economy successfully,” Ducey said, emphasizing that Arizona’s needs and factors are unique to the state. “We’re going to make the decisions in a responsible way so that we are successful in doing it.”
Travel restrictions to places with travel advisories are extended through May 15th also.
Ducey said the state’s leaders would be using both their heads and hearts to make decisions over the coming weeks.
The state has the capacity in the hospital system to deal with much more severe numbers of COVID hospitalizations than we have to date, according to Ducey’s numbers. The system is operating well under capacity, including total hospital beds, ICU beds and ventilators.
Almost 70,000 tests for coronavirus have happened but much more testing is required, and a testing ‘blitz’ is happening this week.
Read the Governor’s full executive order HERE.