Governor Doug Ducey outlined the rationale and the main points of his reopening plan for the State on Wednesday April 29 in an hour-long presentation and question session.
Based on information gathered since January when the first confirmed case showed up until April 19, Ducey ordered two aspects of the lock down to continue until May 15. People returning from hot spots such as New York, New Jersey and Connecticut must self-quarantine for 14 days. And the “Stay Home. Stay healthy. Stay Connected” order will also be extended to May 15.
However, Ducey ordered that retail shops could reopen with curbside and delivery starting May 4. On Friday, May 8 these retail stores could allow customers in if they could show “strict physical distancing requirements, reduced occupancy, comprehensive sanitation protocols and options for curbside service or delivery.”
He announced that it was his goal to reopen restaurants for sit down service sometime in May. He distinguished between bars with crowds of people milling around and pubs and taverns with seating, but which also served liquor.
The Governor aspires to have restaurants open in May and said that the best-case scenario for the industry would be an opening by May 12.
Major General Mick McGuire detailed the assistance the Arizona National Guard and FEMA Region 9 were giving to the Navajo Nation. Two FEMA medical teams are to man two alternate care sites in Chinle and Shiprock which are expected to open May 2 or 3.
In response to a questioner citing Facebook entries from businesses threatening to open right away no matter what, Ducey had stern words for those who would flout the state guidelines. He said that the executive orders had the force of law with a fine of $2,500 and up to six months in jail. He added that he would take no joy in such proceedings coming as he himself did from a segment of the restaurant business.
The Governor mentioned that 1090 providers of elective surgeries were set to be open on May 1, including hospitals, out-patient surgical centers and dental offices.
A member of the media raised the question of whether the plan should be on a statewide level when things got a bit tense. Dr. Cara Christ defended her refusal to compel Nursing Homes or Extended care facilities to list the number of COVID-19 deaths to any person not a relative or guardian of a resident. Members of the media wondered why you could demand the information only if your family member were in residence. Dr. Cari Christ head of Arizona Department of Health Services cited “Arizona Law” after questioners maintained that HIPPA privacy rules did not forbid the information from being disseminated. Shortly after that question, the Governor ended the press conference.