PHOENIX — In 10 days, Governor Doug Ducey’s Stay-at-home order is set to expire. However, any plan to reopen the state would likely occur in phases.
As of now, there is no specific date to reopen the state and no announced plan. But, as Governor Ducey told us last Friday, any reopening would likely be gradual.
"It's not like a light switch you turn off and on. It's more like allowing more oxygen in our economy." Governor Ducey said.
Experts said finding the right amount of oxygen to allow an economy to come back to life while still suffocating the disease would be a tough balance to strike.
One that experts say would require a delicate balance.
"Trying to find the sweet spot between getting the economy back on track and getting people back to work getting people on with their lives and balancing that with risks for health problems and safety issues,” Dr. Kevin Stephan, an infectious disease specialist, said.
Any reopening would happen in stages but he said it starts with having enough tests.
Without the required testing, it would be difficult to track the spread of the disease. COVID-19 is providing more challenges than other diseases because so many people who have the illness can be asymptomatic, yet still spread the virus.
"We have to get to the point where we have enough reliable tests for anyone who wants one can get one," Dr. Stephan said.
For example, getting people back to work. Stephan said he would like to see people return in waves. The first waves would be people who have been tested and are shown to have some immunity to the virus. Then, slowly more people would be added to the workforce, while following social distancing guidelines.
"I think there could be ways to get more people back to work as long as we as a society understand it won't be all of us all at once," Dr. Stephan said.
You could see similar things whenever you go out. Dr. Stephan said it is too early for restaurants to serve food inside. However when they do open up, servers may need to wear masks, and the amount of people able to eat at one time may need to be reduced to follow social distancing guidelines.
The same can be said for sporting events and movie theatres, where Dr. Stephan said he would like to see seats separate patrons from each other to help slow the disease.
The concern is if regulations are relaxed too quickly more restrictions will have to be placed back on. Those restrictions would also likely lengthen the time Arizona would have to fight COVID-19 and face restrictions.