PHOENIX — As more businesses prepare to open this week in Coconino, Maricopa, Pinal, and Pima counties -- the result of those counties moving into the "moderate" phase of reopening -- the Arizona Department of Public Health has created a website and a hotline where the public can submit complaints about businesses that do not follow the required health guidelines.
Maricopa County, the largest county in the state, along with seven other counties -- Apache, Cochise, Coconino, La Paz, Navajo, Pima and Yavapai -- have moved into the "moderate" phase on Thursday, which allows indoor gyms and fitness centers, movie theaters, bars (that serve food), water parks, and tube operators to open with reduced capacities and after agreeing to strict safety guidelines.
ADHS initially thought Pinal County would also move into the "moderate" phase on Thursday, but it was still listed as "substantial" on Thursday morning.
Those industries have been closed since at least the end of June when Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey ordered them closed by executive order in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases. Most movie theaters have been closed since March, though Harkins will reopen its theaters on Friday, Aug. 28 and Alamo Drafthouse will open its theaters within the next week.
"For businesses to remain open, compliance with public health requirements is critical," ADHS said in a statement. Local police departments, ADHS, and the Arizona Department of Liquor License and Control have been tasked with making sure businesses follow the guidelines, including requiring masks, encouraging social distancing, closing common areas, increased cleaning, and screening employees for symptoms.
The public can file complaints through their local police department, county health department, ADHS, or Arizona Department of Liquor. ADHS has also created a website where people can file complaints online, www.azhealth.gov/ComplianceCOVID-19.
The online form will ask for the business's name, the type of business it is, address, the alleged violation, such as not requiring masks or not requiring social distancing, and the date and time the violation(s) was observed.
Beginning Thursday, there will also be the "COVID-19 Compliance Hotline" that people can call, 1-844-410-2157.
Under the "moderate" category, fitness centers and gyms are limited to 25%, while movie theaters, bars, and water parks will be limited to 50% capacity. In counties where the community spread is "substantial," those industries have to remain closed.
Bars that do not serve food nor have transitioned to a "restaurant" cannot reopen until the state's COVID-19 positivity rate falls below 3% and moves into the "minimal" phase.
If you're curious, here are the specific benchmarks for each industry: