TUCSON, Ariz. — Gov. Doug Ducey announced new measures to control the spread of COVID-19 in Arizona at a news conference Monday afternoon.
First, the governor said bars, gyms, indoor movie theaters, water parks and tubing in Arizona would be forced to close for 30 days. Pools will be allowed to remain open, but can allow 10 people at a time, Ducey said.
The executive order goes into effect at 8 p.m. Monday.
The governor’s executive order also prohibits mass gatherings of 50 or more people across the state for 30 days, effective immediately. At the news conference Monday, Gov. Ducey said First-Amendment activities -- including religious and political gatherings -- would be exempt from the rule.
Ducey also announced a delayed school opening date in Arizona for in-person learning to August 17. Schools can conduct distance learning before that date, if they choose.
Arizona Superintendent Kathy Hoffman tweeted Monday that the delayed opening "will allow all of us to continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and plan appropriately."
What Arizona’s numbers will look like by August 17th remains unclear. But one thing is for certain: if efforts are not taken across the entire state to curb the spread of this virus, our schools will only continue to face complications in re-opening their facilities.— Kathy Hoffman (@Supt_Hoffman) June 29, 2020
“It is an unfortunate, but necessary decision to delay students’ return to their classrooms. But with Arizona’s COVID cases hitting new highs every week, it is clearly not yet safe for students and teachers to return to school facilities. Schools now have the financial flexibility to offer distance learning per their regular academic calendars, and it is my hope that they will take this opportunity to the best of their ability. Arizona’s students simply cannot afford to stop learning this year," Superintendent Hoffman said in a statement.
Last week, Gov. Ducey spoke on Arizona’s rising number of cases and the strain on hospital systems across the state. The governor urged Arizonans to stay home as much as possible, and wear a mask in public where social distancing wasn’t possible -- but the governor stopped short of enacting any new policies or executive orders to curb the spread of the virus.
The AZDHS reported 625 new cases of COVID-19 Monday, but said that number did not reflect all new cases in Arizona as one of its lab partners did not submit its data by the deadline. That lab partner -- Sonora Quest -- released its testing data by noon, with 2,454 positive test results, bringing the statewide total to 3,079 new cases of COVID-19.