Arizona Governor Announces New Restrictions Amid Rise in COVID-19 Cases — Bars, gyms and other businesses to pause operations effective 8pm tonight

“Arm yourself with a mask. It’s your best defense against this virus.” — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey

At a press conference this afternoon, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced new statewide restrictions as positive COVID-19 numbers continue to rise.

Executive Order 2020-43: Pausing of Arizona’s Reopening — Slowing the Spread of COVID-19, includes pausing operations of bars, indoor gyms, fitness clubs or centers, indoor movie theaters, waterparks and tubing operations, effective 8pm tonight, June 29. The state has a “targeted” reopening date of July 27.

The governor stated that, “This will help relieve stress on our health care system and give time for new transmissions to slow.”

Today’s announcement stated that in order to reopen, the establishments must attest to and adhere to all public health regulations, and post it for the public to see. The governor said that enforcement will be led by local public health officials and local authorities.

The Executive Order also limits mass gatherings.

“Effective June 29, 2020, organized public events of more than 50 people are prohibited unless the city, town or county in unincorporated areas has approved the event, and only if adequate safety precautions are implemented, including physical distancing measures.”

Guidance is also offered for public and private pools. Read the full Executive Order here:

Also issued today is Executive Order 2020-44: Protecting Public Health for Students and Teachers. The Order delays the start of in-person classes for the school year that begins July 1 until Aug. 17, “but schools may begin the school year on their regularly planned start date prior to August 17, 2020 through distance learning.”

The governor stressed that Aug. 17 is an “aspirational” date and that State Superintendent of Public Instruction Kathy Hoffman continues to work with district superintendents and other stakeholders on plans to educate students safely this school year.

Read the full Executive Order here:

Dr. Cara Christ, director of Arizona Department of Health Services, provided updated guidance for Independence Day, encouraging residents to celebrate with “immediate household or daily contacts” and to protect vulnerable family members and friends by sharing time virtually.

She also shared that the state is partnering with Banner Health and Arizona State University, among others, to increase availability and timeliness of testing statewide.*

Also announced today, by the end of this week, the state will have in place a program to provide access to masks for every Arizonan.*

Ducey closed the press conference with this reminder: “Arm yourself with a mask. It’s your best defense against this virus.”

WATCH today’s press conference in its entirety here. |CST

[*This story is developing and will be updated.]

Governor Ducey Announces Enhanced COVID-19 Action Plan

Following COVID-19 case increases and hospitalizations in Arizona, Governor Doug Ducey today announced enhanced actions to “contain the spread of the virus and protect Arizona’s most vulnerable residents.”
Additional actions announced today include:

  • Continuing to boost diagnostic testing, including expanding rapid testing capability;
  • Amplifying contact tracing in partnership with counties, including utilizing National Guard assets and providing additional resources to counties;
  • Increasing awareness of distancing and face-covering guidelines, including authorizing local governments to implement enhanced mitigation measures;
  • Continuing to focus on long-term care settings, including providing $10 million for additional PPE and face masks;
  • And enhancing guidance for establishments to limit congregating and enforce mitigation policies.

Read Gov. Ducey’s full announcement here.

In addition, Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) today released updated guidance allowing local governments to implement mask and face-covering policies and determine enforcement measures. The guidance allows local authorities to tailor mitigation efforts specific to the local public health need.

In response to this announcement, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego made this statement on social media, “Today Governor Doug Ducey gave the power back to cities to implement our own health and safety measures to fight rising #COVID cases. This is the needed step to allow cities to protect residents. The Governor has stated that he believes that the ‘government closest to the people’ is the most effective. We agree, and we hope that the expertise of cities is considered as we continue our fight against a virus that has killed too many Arizonans.

“On our next agenda, Phoenix City Council will vote to mandate face masks for residents going to essential businesses and in public spaces. I fully support this measure. We will only overcome this virus by working together.”

The official City of Scottsdale Facebook page posted this statement today: “Scottsdale is evaluating the legal and enforcement considerations before determining whether a local emergency ordinance mandating masks in public will be created.”*

With regards to businesses, the updated guidance issued today by ADHS requires specific health measures be taken by establishments, including:

  • Physically distancing of 6 feet;
  • Providing employees with face-coverings and requiring usage;
  • Conducting symptom checks for all employees before shifts;
  • Requiring sick employees to stay home;
  • And increasing the frequency of employee hygiene, cleaning and disinfecting.

The governor’s office released detailed requirements for businesses as well as for restaurants and bars providing dine-in service.

State health official continue to encourage those who are at higher risk of severe illness to stay home whenever possible. Those who are out in public should practice social distancing by staying 6 feet apart whenever possible and wearing a cloth face covering. As always, hand washing and cleaning and disinfecting frequently touched objects and surfaces are important.

Find more information on safety measures and symptoms of the disease here. |CST

*Updated: 7:20pm; 6.17.2020

Scottsdale Launches ‘Good To Go’ Business Finder Map

Scottsdale’s newest interactive map puts local business information right at everyone’s fingertips. The map is a tool that allows users to locate open businesses during these uncertain times (and for residents who are tired of cooking at home and wish to order take-out or delivery).

Residents can use their location to scroll through the map to see what restaurants, retail shops, services or hotels are open nearby — and each business will have their phone number and website listed for easy access. Businesses and organizations can add on to the map, and so far, the City of Scottsdale has almost 170 businesses listed since the map was launched.

Area business owners can add their business to the map by completing an online form.

Learn more about the City of Scottsdale’s COVID-19 response here.

CVS Health Expands Arizona COVID-19 Testing — Partners with St. Vincent de Paul clinic to address needs of underserved communities

As positive COVID-19 case numbers continue to increase across the state, CVS Health announced today that they are expanding their COVID-19 testing program with 14 additional test sites at select CVS Pharmacy drive-thru locations across the state. The opening of additional test sites Friday, June 12, add to the 35 locations previously opened by CVS Health across Arizona.

A complete list of CVS Pharmacy drive-thru test sites can be found here.

CVS Health provided these details about the drive-thru testing:

  • The new sites will utilize self-swab tests and will help enable the company’s goal processing up to 1.5 million tests per month, subject to availability of supplies and lab capacity.
  • Self-swab tests will be available to individuals meeting Centers for Disease Control and Prevention criteria, in addition to state and age guidelines.
  • Patients must register in advance at beginning Friday, June 12, to schedule an appointment.
  • There are no out-of-pocket costs for these tests for both insured and uninsured patients.
  • Patients will be required to stay in their cars and will be directed to the pharmacy drive-thru window or a location in the parking lot at a few stores, where they will be provided with a test kit and given instructions.
  • A CVS Pharmacy team member will observe the self-swab process to ensure it is done properly. Tests will be sent to an independent, third-party lab for processing and the results will be available in approximately three days.

Additionally, St. Vincent de Paul announced Tuesday, June 9, that it has launched rapid COVID-19 testing with CVS Health at the nonprofit’s Virginia G. Piper Medical & Dental Clinic for the uninsured in Phoenix. Licensed health care providers from MinuteClinic, the retail medical clinic of CVS Health, and CVS Pharmacy colleagues are staffing the new testing operation.

Testing at St. Vincent de Paul’s clinic, located at 420 W. Watkins Road in Phoenix, will be free and open to the public by appointment only. Patients will need to pre-register in advance by calling 602.850.6940 to schedule a same-day time slot for testing. A personal vehicle is not required for testing and results will be provided on-the-spot. To be eligible for testing, patients will need to meet criteria established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, in addition to age guidelines.

Photos courtesy of CVS Health

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