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State officials approving businesses to reopen despite benchmarks not met

Posted at 3:27 PM, Aug 15, 2020

State officials in Arizona are approving businesses to reopen sooner and two have been given the green light with more possible this weekend. However, the benchmarks released by health officials have not yet been fully met.

ABC15 has learned that as of Friday, 95 bars serving food, 89 gyms and five movie theaters have submitted proposals for reopening.

A spokesperson for Arizona’s Department of Health Services confirmed that along with providing benchmarks to guide the reopening, they are providing a way for businesses to reopen sooner.

In an email, an official wrote, “the state has provided a way for businesses to reopen sooner if they submit plans that follow even more stringent safety practices than will be required for those reopening when transmission benchmarks reach the moderate phase.”

So far, two businesses have been approved and four have been denied.

The two that have been approved by the state are, EōS Fitness and Training for Warriors - Estrella. However, ABC15 reporter Nicole Grigg is told ADHS staff will be reviewing more applications through the weekend.

“The approved plan submitted by EōS fitness includes limiting occupancy to 10%, requiring electronic reservations for all clients, and pausing group activities including group fitness, basketball court operations and kids club operations,” a spokesperson from ADHS wrote.

As for those who have been denied, they will have the opportunity to request an informal settlement conference with the department.

ABC15 asked ADHS about the benchmarks not yet being met, and a spokesperson said this process allows reopening under more stringent safety protocols, subject to state review and approval.