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Elective surgery ban ends May 1, other industries left hanging

“The executive order is still in effect,” Ducey said. “More to follow.”

PHOENIX — Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced Wednesday that hospitals and surgery centers will be allowed to resume elective surgeries starting May 1, but he did not reveal his plan for any of the other industries.

An executive order suspended all elective surgeries as of March 19. The governor’s “Stay Home. Stay Healthy. Stay Connected” order also put restrictions on restaurants and other businesses. Eventually, beauty salons and barbershops were deemed nonessential and required to close.

Wednesday’s announcement leaves that executive order in place, although Ducey did acknowledge it is set to expire after April 30.

“The executive order is still in effect,” Ducey said. “More to follow.”

The healthcare industry in the Valley was thrilled with the announcement.

Mayo Clinic CEO Dr. Richard Gray said his organization would have no issue complying with the governor’s conditions for elective surgeries to resume. Mayo Clinic is an acute care facility that treats patients with COVID-19 and other emergency issues. 

But staff in elective surgeries had been out of work since mid-March, and Gray said the Ducey’s decision to allow those people to go back to work would give the facility a boost in revenue to continue work on COVID-19.

“We are thankful that the governor is striking that balance between the healthcare needs of Arizonans that we’ve set aside for a time, and the very real needs of COVID-19 patients as well as being cautious to care for any increase in those needs in the future,” Dr. Gray said.

The Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association also praised the decision in a statement from  CEO and President Ann-Marie Alameddin.

“Now that we have a month’s worth of meaningful data that Governor Ducey’s stay-at-home measures are working and flattening the curve, he is right to evaluate how we can get back to the business of health care and treat patients in our communities,” Alammedin’s statement reads.

Restaurant owners, meanwhile, were left hanging. Dining rooms across the state are still closed as small businesses and large alike try to survive by offering takeout and delivery meals only. 

The governor only said he has the option to allow his order to expire, to extend it, or to adapt it to changing conditions on the ground. He stopped short of saying what he might do as of May 1.

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