All Arizona counties meet ADHS benchmarks to reopen businesses

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Posted at 10:18 AM, Oct 01, 2020
and last updated 2020-10-01 15:25:35-04

PHOENIX — All counties in Arizona have met the benchmarks for safely reopening businesses, according to state officials Thursday.

In an update to the Arizona Department of Health Services Business Dashboard, Graham County advanced to the moderate transmission stage, joining all other Arizona counties except for Greenlee County, which remains in the minimal transmission stage.

On Thursday, ADHS announced the benchmarks for Graham County have been met and can move forward with reopening businesses such as indoor gyms and fitness centers, bars serving food, and movie theaters.

The guidelines were put in place by the Governor’s Office and the Arizona Department of Health Services amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

“COVID-19 remains in our communities, so it’s essential that everyone continue masking up, maintaining physical distance, washing our hands thoroughly and often, and taking other steps to reduce the spread,” said ADHS Director Dr. Cara Christ.

On June 27, Governor Doug Ducey issued an Executive Order that paused the reopening of certain industries with operations that were considered by public health to have a high-risk of spreading COVID-19, specifically indoor gyms and fitness centers, bars and nightclubs, waterparks and tubing, and movie theaters. It also limited indoor and outdoor gatherings to no more than 50 people.

State health officials note that since this pause, Arizona saw a decline in its cases and percent positivity, an increase in hospital capacity, and an improvement in other indicators.

The state’s plan for safely reopening these industries required that the three benchmarks on the ADHS Business Dashboard be met for 14 days, with a 12-day reporting lag, to move between transmission phases. These are cases per 100,000 residents, percent positivity, and COVID-like illness as a percentage of hospitalizations.

To reopen, affected businesses must submit an online attestation stating they are in compliance with public health protocols and guidelines prescribed by ADHS, including occupancy limits, a mask requirement, and steps to reduce groups from congregating. The businesses must post the attestation form where customers can see it.