PHOENIX — Gov. Doug Ducey issued a new round of executive orders Monday afternoon that will close Arizona businesses to stem the surging number of coronavirus cases across the state.
Bars, movie theaters and gyms, along with water and tubing parks have been ordered to close through July 27, and schools are ordered to delay the opening of campuses until August 17.
Mass gatherings with more than 50 people will also be banned.
The two executive orders are Ducey’s most serious action to curb COVID-19 since the end of Arizona’s stay-at-home order in May.
“We are seeing an increase higher than many of these other states,” Ducey explained. “We want to do our part in Arizona to bring this number down.”
The state has seen a surge in cases in recent weeks, and state health director Dr. Cara Christ allowed hospitals to implement crisis standards of care as some facilities say they’re nearing maximum capacity.
Christ says the change allows hospitals to add staffing and makes more resources available for hospitals. Clinics can also stop elective surgeries if they’re overwhelmed with COVID-19 patients.
Ducey says the recently renovated St. Luke’s Hospital is ready to take patients if other facilities can’t.
The U.S. has enjoyed a recovering economy as the country moved towards reopening, but the latest spike in cases in Arizona threatens to undo economic gains as the state is forced to partially close again.
“The objective is to slow the virus. There is no vaccine. We need to do that again,” Ducey explained.
“It will take several weeks for the mitigation we’re enacting to take effect, but it will happen, and we can save lives along the way.”