Bars, nightclubs and water parks in Arizona to be closed again for 30 days after facing a “brutal” increase in COVID-19 cases.
Governor Doug Ducey said at a news conference Monday that he prohibits events with more than 50 people, and ordered public schools to delay the start of classes until August 17.
“We can’t be under any illusion that this virus is going to go away on its own,” he said.
Infections in Arizona began spiking after emerging from stay-at-home order in mid-May, reporting 3,858 confirmed coronavirus cases on Sunday.
This is the seventh time that the daily toll in the state surpassed the 3,000 mark.
Ducey ended the news conference by asking people to wear facemasks and said, “It’s your best defense against this virus.”
The governor never discouraged the use of masks, but this is the first time Ducey encouraged Arizonans after a largely lukewarm stance the last few months.
“There are some people that can’t wear masks for whatever reason, shortness of breath or they are asthmatic,” Ducey defended when asked why he would not require the use of facemasks.
Arizona’s decision comes after states in the South and West see a new surge of infections as they attempt to reopen the economy, including Texas and Florida.
Hospitals were told to implement crisis care plans, and are required to plan to add 50% to their capacity when they go to crisis care levels.
This means extra regular and intensive care beds will be added, and some patients may receive lower standards of care or be discharged earlier than they usually would be.
Any hospital also has the authority to end all non-emergency surgeries if they go over capacity.
As of Sunday, hospitals across the state are at 84% capacity, and it is unclear when they are expected to reach 100%.