by Cole Lauterbach
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey has rescinded the business restrictions he put in place last year to stem the spread of COVID-19.
Ducey’s latest executive order, which he signed Friday, removes the capacity limits on businesses he had put in place July 9, effective immediately.
“We’ve learned a lot over the past year,” Ducey said. “Our businesses have done an excellent job at responding to this pandemic in a safe and responsible way. We will always admire the sacrifice they and their employees have made and their vigilance to protect against the virus.”
Ducey said Arizona, unlike many other states, never shut down.
“We withstood the calls from the extremes on both sides, and we will continue to ignore them,” he said. “We always knew that fighting this virus would be dependent on the personal responsibility of everyday Arizonans.”
Physical distancing and mask requirements put in place by local units of government remain in place. Arizona is one of the handful of states that never instituted a statewide mask mandate.
Major League Baseball’s Spring Training will be able to welcome fans after the Arizona Department of Health Services approves a submitted plan by each facility showing they’re able to implement proper safety precautions.
Ducey’s order still does not allow local officials from inflicting more stringent bans than the state.
“Today’s announcement is a measured approach; we are not in the clear yet. We need to continue practicing personal responsibility. Wear a mask. Social distance. Stay home when you’re sick and wash your hands frequently,” Ducey said.
Shortly after the announcement, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego posted a comment on Twitter.
“While [Arizona] is headed in the right direction, #COVID is not gone [and] the pandemic is not over,” she tweeted. “Mayor’s (sic) have made decisions based on science [and] data and we will continue to do so. Please continue to wear a mask and make decisions that protect you and your loved ones.”
The Arizona Department of Health Services announced 2,276 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday, attributing 84 new deaths to the disease. The state has administered 2,016,512 doses of the COVID-19 vaccine as of Thursday.
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Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois and Arizona government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Central Illinois and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.