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Gov. Ducey orders temporary closures of bars, gyms and theaters amid COVID-19 spike

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TUCSON (KVOA) - With Arizona experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases, Gov. Doug Ducey enacted an executive order that aims to break up large gatherings.

Back on June 17, the governor announced that he will allow local governments to craft their own policies for face mask and coverings requirements for their communities.

Several major communities including Tucson and Phoenix mandated the use of masks while in public.

Despite these actions, Gov. Doug Ducey shared in another press conference Thursday that Arizona was still seeing major increases in the area and urged residents to stay at home when they can.

"We expect our numbers to be worse next week and the week after," the governor said during Thursday's briefing. "This is Arizona's time of challenge."

Closure of bars, gyms and movie theaters

According to Monday's executive order, bars, indoor gyms, fitness centers, fitness clubs, movie theaters, water parks and tubing are ordered to cease business starting at 8 p.m. Monday.

The executive order defined bars as any entity that holds a "series 6 or 7 liquor license from the Department of Liquor Licenses and control and whose primary business is the sale or dispensing of alcoholic beverages."

The order states that bars can offer pick-up, delivery and drive-thru services through a series 12 liquor license.

The governor said the reopening of these facilities has a targeted opening day of 30 days from now - July 29.

Local public health officials and local authorities will handle the enforcement, according to the governor.

In addition, with Independence Day celebrations nearing, the governor also ordered to ban gatherings outdoor gatherings of more than 50 people. To enforce this, the governor said "the Arizona Department of Liquor Licenses and Control shall cease issuing special event licenses for the period between June 29, 2020 and July 27, 2020."

Public pools must also implement restrictions against more than 10 people. Private pools most implement social distancing protocols for groups larger than 10.

First Day of School Delay

During the press conference, Ducey also ordered schools to delay their start date to at least Aug. 17.

The governor said that school that wish to start earlier must "be able to conduct distance learning."

Kathy Hoffman, Arizona’s superintendent of public instruction took to Twitter to share the following statement in reference to this announcement.

Today’s announcement from Gov @dougducey delays in-person instruction until August 17th but allows schools to offer distance learning per their regular schedules. This will allow all of us to continue to monitor the spread of COVID-19 and plan appropriately.

What Arizona’s numbers will look like by August 17th remains unclear. But one thing is for certain: if efforts are not taken across the entire state to curb the spread of this virus, our schools will only continue to face complications in re-opening their facilities.

I urge all Arizonans to #StayHome and #MaskUp to slow the spread of this virus in our communities. Our students and school staff are depending on it.

Kathy Hoffman, Arizona’s superintendent of public instruction

Latest COVID-19 Numbers

State health officials reported 625 new positive COVID-19 cases on Monday, pushing Arizona's overall total to 74, 533. However, the department said the data posted on its dashboard does "not reflect all the new cases." They say one of their lab partners did not submit their daily report on time

The death toll related to this disease currently stands at 1,588 in Arizona.

For the latest COVID-19 statistics for the state of Arizona, visit azdhs.gov.

Anthony Victor Reyes

Anthony Victor Reyes is the lead digital content producer at News 4 Tucson. The award-winning journalist previously worked as a community reporter in Jasper County, Iowa.

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