Some businesses in Maricopa will be able to enter phase one of reopening after Pinal County moved Thursday to a moderate level of community transmission of coronavirus..
The county achieved all three necessary benchmarks: 100 or less cases per 100,000 population, a positivity rate between 5% and 10% and COVID-like illness-related hospital visits between 5% and 10%. Benchmarks have to be reached for two consecutive weeks, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services dashboard.
Certain businesses – indoor gyms, bars that serve food, indoor theaters and water parks/tubing operators – would be allowed to reopen by attesting to comply with all requirements, including limiting occupancy and enforcing mask requirements.
Pinal was expected to attain a moderate transmission status last Thursday but missed one of the benchmarks – 100 or less cases per 100,000 population – by a single case in the two-week period.
A number of gyms in the city, including CrossFit Maricopa, Planet Fitness and Anytime Fitness, plus the gym at Copper Sky, had been closed for months, but some had reopened earlier with permission of the state by attesting to follow even more restrictive guidelines.
Copper Sky was already planning to reopen Thursday with more restrictive requirements.
With the move to moderate status, gyms can reopen at 25% and are recommended to take reservations.
Bars and nightclubs will be limited to 50% capacity overall and parties of no more than 10. They also must close dance floors.
Businesses that do not comply with mitigation requirements will be subject to strict enforcement. The state health department has said it is partnering with local authorities, county health departments and other state agencies to ensure compliance and protect the health of customers and employees.
Just this week, several bars and nightclubs in Scottsdale and Tempe were shut down by the state for failing to follow safety requirements.
The state marked 203,953 cases of the virus on Thursday, with 1,091 new coronavirus cases and 65 new deaths, according to the health department’s dashboard. More than 5,100 people have died since the onset of the pandemic.
Pinal County reported 54 new cases for a total of 9,744 cases. The death toll is 187, with one new death reported Thursday.
In the 85138 and 85139 zip codes, 870 and 337 cases have been reported, respectively.