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Business owners celebrate as Arizona health department approves reopening

A few weeks ago, the Arizona Department of Health Services said it would allow businesses to apply to reopen.

PHOENIX — It was Tuesday night when AZ On the Rocks owner Kevin Berk got the notice; his climbing gym could reopen.

“She’s like when do you wanna open? I’m like, '9 a.m.!'” Berk remembers. “We’re opening at 9 a.m. I don’t care what happens, we are open!”

And at 9 a.m., the doors were back open and climbers were climbing.

The gym had been closed since June when Gov. Doug Ducey ordered all gyms, bars and water parks closed due to the coronavirus.

A few weeks ago, the Arizona Department of Health Services said it would allow those businesses to reopen if they had a coronavirus safety plan and if the department approved.

“I seriously probably teared up,” Berk said.

So far, 38 businesses have been approved to reopen. The vast majority of those are gyms and fitness clubs. Five are bars and two are movie theaters.

Of those bars, only one is in the Phoenix metro area, Chantilly’s at Seventh Avenue and Union Hills Drive.

Speaking to 12 News by phone, the owner of Chantilly’s said while they’re technically open, they’re still organizing, restocking and getting the bar in order.

Two movie theaters are also on the list: Invisible Theater in Tucson and Alamo Drafthouse in Chandler.

Alamo did not return phone calls and emails, but on the Alamo Drafthouse website, a video shows how going to the movies will change at Alamo.

The theater chain is known for basically being a restaurant and bar inside a movie theater, with reserved seating and no late entry.

Now, moviegoers will buy their tickets ahead of time, and also order food and drinks before they get to the theater.

Alamo says their computer systems will leave a seat open on either side of every ticket purchase t ensure social distancing.

And when the movie’s over, people will leave one row at a time, avoiding the crowded rush for the door when the credits roll.

Other Alamo Drafthouse locations have said they hope to open by August 21st.

The Chandler location did not post an expected reopening date.

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