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Ducey orders gyms, bars and water parks to stay closed

Ducey orders gyms, bars and water parks to stay closed

Source: Phoenix Business Journal | Brandon Brown

Gov. Doug Ducey extended the closure of bars, gyms, theaters and water parks in Arizona for at least two more weeks in a executive order issued Thursday.

While the number of positive Covid-19 cases are not as high as they were just weeks ago, Ducey said it is safest for the local communities that these businesses stay closed for the time being.

“No victory lap, no celebration. Only continued physical distancing, washing your hands and remembering you are safer at home,” Ducey said Thursday during a press conference.

As of Thursday, Arizona’s Covid-19 case count stood at 152,944 and its death count was at 3,063, with 2,335 new cases and 89 new deaths reported on Thursday, according to the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Ducey closed these businesses down by executive order in late June. The original order was set to expire July 27, but Ducey’s Thursday order will keep these businesses closed for at least two more weeks. He’ll reexamine the situation again then, and every two weeks until he feels it is safe to open.

Based on the state’s current spread of Covid-19, Ducey said the recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is to have these businesses closed.

“The recommendation for these venues is closure,” he said. “That is where we are at this time.”

A number of gyms and bars filed lawsuits against Ducey over the June 27 order. So far judges have ruled in favor of Ducey on requests for temporary restraining orders, while other lawsuits are still ongoing.

Luxury gym brand Life Time Inc. originally declined to close, citing that its practices were safer than those of restaurants or retailers that were allowed to stay open. The state then suspended Life Time’s liquor licenses as a punishment for staying open.

Life Time spokeswoman Natalie Bushaw told the Business Journal Thursday the company was disappointed by the governor’s announcement Thursday, but said it will “continue to follow guidance and do our part.”

Additionally, the governor on Thursday announced the beginning of a “Tougher Than Covid” statewide public information campaign intended to encourage Arizonans to wear face coverings in public and take other recommended steps to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

The campaign was developed in partnership with several Arizona advertising and public relations firms and is supported by $3 million in spending from the governor’s office.

Participating firms include Highnoon, LaneTerralever, Lavidge, Riester, R&R Partners, OH Partners, Off Madison Ave and communications support from Urias Communications and HMA Public Relations.

“Our purpose is to get this message out to all Arizonans,” Ducey said in a statement. “We are proud to come together with our partners in the private sector to stress the importance of these practices as we continue to fight Covid-19.”

The media campaign will feature ads on television and billboards and other media in English and Spanish.

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