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What's next in opening up Arizona's economy? Stay-at-home order set to expire Thursday

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Posted at 6:17 PM, Apr 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-04-28 20:16:56-04

PHOENIX — Governor Doug Ducey's stay-at-home order is set to end this week, but no formal announcement has been made for what's next in opening up the economy.

FULL COVERAGE: Coronavirus in Arizona

Staff with Gov. Ducey's office said there would be a briefing on Tuesday, although a time was not given.

Hollie Levine, part owner of Dance Studio Pix, says she is waiting for any update from the governor so she can figure out what's next for her business.

The small business owner takes photos of dancers and dance teams across the country, so she is relying on updates from multiple states as her livelihood is on hold.

"When the gyms can open, does that mean a dance studio can open," Levine wonders. "When they open are they only allowed to have 10 kids per room? Can we still hold our photoshoots, and maybe let one kid enter at a time, and do it sort of that way? But there's really no guideline that we can put procedures in place to move forward."

The Arizona Commerce Authority says they have been receiving feedback from a range of industries to help make decisions about reopening the economy.

"The input has been very wide-ranging, from creative suggestions about social distancing, screening, and ways businesses can return to operations while prioritizing public safety to support a phased approach, taking into account the latest science and data," said a spokesperson with the Arizona Commerce Authority.

The commerce authority has been in contact with 56 organizations, including Arizona Hispanic Chamber, Southern Arizona Leadership, BOMA, Sun Corridor and many other groups.

Whatever Gov. Ducey decides, no one believes business will return immediately to what it was six weeks ago, before a stay-at-home order was issued for Arizona.

But now everyone, from small business owners to mayors, are anxious to learn what the governor's plan is, so they can prepare for what comes next.

"I'm a little bit nervous. I would like for him to come out and say he's planning to follow the federal guidelines," Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego said. "The federal guidelines provide some clear milestones for re-opening."

Those milestones include two consecutive weeks of COVID-19 cases trending downward. A situation Arizona does not find itself in yet.

It appears Gallego and the rest of the state's mayors will have to wait like everyone else before knowing for sure what the governor plans to do. Gallego's request for mayors to get an advance notice was met by what she says was "an unwillingness to commit" by Ducey's staff.

Gallego says cities need to be able to prepare for the governor's decision, since it will be left to local law enforcement in many cases to explain the governor's orders to residents.

"Our police officers are expected to explain what is the law in Arizona, and so we would like to have an understanding of how we will decide what the rules are."

Arizona's stay-at-home order expires on April 30.