Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced May 12 that the statewide “Stay at Home” Executive Order due to the coronavirus pandemic will expire on Friday, May 15. The new Executive Order, which goes into effect Saturday, May 16, offers new guidance for the next stages of Arizona’s economic recovery. A press release from the Governor’s office said the guidelines will meet the criteria set by the White House and the Centers for Disease Control and aims to prevent the resurgence of the coronavirus.
The guidelines also aim to protect vulnerable populations and guide the reopening of businesses with enhanced physical distancing and safety measures.
The new Executive Order also seeks to protect public health and safety through increased testing, bolstering supply chains for personal protective equipment for first responders and health care workers, and enhanced safety protocols for those living and working in high-risk facilities such as nursing homes.
Some aspects of the reopening of Arizona’s economy have already begun. Medical facilities could resume elective surgeries on May 1. “Non-essential” retail businesses were allowed to reopen for drive-thru and pick-up business May 4, and for limited indoor shopping May 8.
Restaurants were allowed to reopen their dining rooms on May 11, as long as social distancing is practiced and servers wear masks. Bars have not reopened, but they can serve alcohol “to go” as long as it’s in sealed containers.
As of Wednesday, May 13, pools, gyms and fitness providers, massage therapists and spas were allowed to reopen, but they had to practice social distancing and practice enhanced sanitation.
Professional sports will be allowed to resume in the state on Saturday, May 16. However, they are not allowed to have fans in the audience.
Ducey told a Phoenix television station that theaters, which had been closed as part of the “stay at home” order, will be allowed to reopen May 16. The television station said they asked local theaters and theater chains about their plans to reopen, but had not heard anything back. The station noted the West Wind Drive-In in Glendale has remained open during the pandemic. They added that “pop up” drive-ins had opened in recent weeks in Glendale, Mesa, Queen Creek, and Scottsdale.
Ducey thanked Arizonans for their cooperation during the pandemic.
“Since the start of this pandemic, Arizona has taken a calm and steady approach to protecting health and slowing the spread of COVID-19,” Ducey said in a press release. “Today, our hospitals have capacity to provide care to those who need it; our businesses are implementing and adapting to new physical distancing measures; and data shows Arizona is headed in the right direction. It is time to move forward with the next steps of Arizona’s economic recovery — while continuing to make health and safety our number one priority.”
Here in La Paz County, county offices will be resume their regular business hours starting Monday, May 18. Some will be open from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday, while others will be open 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. The offices will be operating under the state’s new guidelines and continuing to practice social distancing.
While houses of worship were never formally required to close, many chose to forgo in-person services during the pandemic. The Arizona Department of Health Services has guidelines for houses of worship at their website.
As of the afternoon of May 13, there was no word on the Colorado River Indian Tribes’ website or Facebook page about the possible reopening of Tribal enterprises and facilities. The Tribal Council passed a “stay at home” resolution that will be in effect until May 31. Among other things, it doesn’t allow any new tenants at mobile home or RV parks, closes access to the Colorado River from the CRIT reservation, limits the number of members of a household who can be out at any time for essential business, prohibits gatherings of more than six people unless they’re all part of the same household, and imposes a 10 p.m. to 5 a.m. curfew. It applies to all residents on Tribal land, members and non-members alike.
There is no word as to when the BlueWater Resort & Casino might reopen. Closed since March 20, its reopening has already been postponed three times. There is no mention of the closure or reopening on the BlueWater’s website, and a link on the Parker Pioneer’s website to updates on the BlueWater shows only a message thanking essential and front-line workers.
In the afternoon of Wednesday, May 13, the CRIT announced on their Manataba Messenger website 11 new cases had been confirmed among tribal members. The new cases were all from two households.
As of the morning of May 13, there have 12,178 confirmed cases of the coronavirus in Arizona, and 594 deaths. This does not include the 11 from CRIT that were announced Wednesday afternoon.
In La Paz County, there have been 38 cases. The majority of non-Tribal cases can be traced to a workplace in the McMullen Valley that’s near the eastern edge of the Quartzsite Fire District. Of the 38 cases, 18 are still active. The 20 closed cases have seen 18 recovered and two deaths, a survival rate of 90 percent.