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Tempe restaurant under fire as patrons appear to not follow Governor Ducey's guidelines

Dr. Will Humble, Executive Director for Arizona Public Health Association, warns if behavior like this continues, we could see an increase in COVID-19 cases.

PHOENIX — Monday was the first day Arizona restaurants could reopen with dine-in services after Gov. Doug Ducey gave them the green light last week. 

Ducey provided Center for Disease Control Guidelines for reopening but there are still questions surrounding the enforcement of those guidelines. 

Video from Sky 12 captured a pack CASA Tempe on Monday in downtown Tempe on Mill Avenue and Sixth Street. 

The bar's rooftop was a bustle of movement and on the ground patrons were shoulder to shoulder. 

In the video, there appears to be no social distancing and no one wearing protective gear.

It's scenarios like this that public health care officials say are a recipe for disaster. 

“If this is the kind of thing that we’re going to see from now on all over the place, then we’re all in big trouble," says Dr. Will Humble, executive director for Arizona Public Health Association. 

Humble warns if behavior like this continues, we could see an increase in COVID-19 cases. 

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Tempe City Officials are also concerned with the behavior of CASA business owners and patrons. 

“This did not meet my expectations for what it looks like to re-open safely and responsibly,” Tempe Mayor Mark Mitchell said. 

“This is an opportunity to work together and educate people on what is being required of them during the COVID-19 pandemic so that we can all remain safe.”

Mitchell said the city will require restaurants opening to diners will have to document how they're enforcing social distancing measures and reiterated that failing to comply with the governor's orders is a class one misdemeanor.

"What we witnessed was really irresponsible behavior on the part of the business owner and a part of the patrons as well but ultimately this just comes down to the Governor," Tempe Vice Mayor Lauren Kuby said. 

"The rules are murky. We are reopening too soon."

Kuby says Ducey’s guidance for reopening doesn’t cut it and merely recommending masks and social distancing without enforcement further exposes the public to the virus. 

“You can have groups of 10 arrive in as long as you’re six feet apart somehow that is legal, according to the governor’s prescription, but then you saw the massive number of people in line and there was no social distancing being observed.”

Here is a statement from Tempe Police to 12 News:

"We appreciate you reaching out to us. Earlier this evening Tempe Police officers responded to CASA and contacted the manager. Officers determined they were working within the parameters outlined per the governors executive order as far as the number of patrons inside the business. Furthermore, officers did identify a couple tables that needed additional distance and the manager was more than willing to comply and made the appropriate changes. 

"It appears CASA has had a line form outside the business as they are only allowing a certain number of guests inside the establishment. The Tempe Police Department will continue to educate patrons and business owners to adhere to the CDC guidelines. Officers will continue to monitor and address issues as they arise." 

However, 12 News video shows patrons shoulder-to-shoulder inside the bar area. 

12 News asked CASA manager Kirk Hopkins if Monday night was a wake up call for his staff. 

Here is his response: “At this time other than working with the city of Tempe to ensure those  dine-in guidelines I have no further comment.”

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