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'Seeing positive trends': AZDHS director on relaxing occupancy limits

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Posted at 3:19 PM, Mar 05, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-05 17:55:38-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — Occupancy limits placed on businesses due to COVID-19 have now been lifted in Arizona. Governor Doug Ducey announced this Friday as the next phase of COVID-19 mitigation.

State health director Dr. Cara Christ explained the reason behind lifting occupancy limits for Arizona businesses.

“We've seen that our data has been trending in the right direction for quite a number of weeks now. And what we've identified is as long as people are maintaining that six feet of distance and staying distanced and wearing masks at all times, except when actively eating or drinking, we felt with the current community transmission that we could reduce those occupancy requirements that had been put into place,” said Christ.

RELATED: Ducey rescinds COVID-19 occupancy limits for businesses; mask rules still in effect

Ducey said in a statement, “We’ve learned a lot over the past year. Our businesses have done an excellent job at responding to this pandemic in a safe and responsible way. We will always admire the sacrifice they and their employees have made and their vigilance to protect against the virus.”

The executive order applies to restaurants, gyms, movie theaters, water parks, bowling alleys and bars providing dine-in services.

“But what we saw when we saw this most recent spike back in December in January, it wasn't necessarily the establishment or the occupancy limits that had an impact. It was those people gathering in those small private settings, where people were letting the masking and the physical distancing down,” said Christ.

And to those who think this means the fight against COVID is ending, Christ said we are not out of the woods just yet.

“I mean, we are seeing positive trends, we are increasing our vaccine administration. But we still need Arizona to take those same precautions,” said Christ.