TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - Local businesses will now have the ability to continue enforcing masks and social distancing per Governor Doug Ducey’s new mitigation phase.
Under the changes announced by Governor Ducey:
- Events of more than 50 people will no longer need the approval of local governments. These events should continue to follow safe practices and CDC recommendations, including physical distancing. This includes youth sports.
- The business guidance will transition from requirements to recommendations. Governor Ducey is providing businesses with the ability to continue requiring masks and social distancing.
- Bars have already been allowed to operate as “dine-in” at full capacity. They will now be allowed to resume regular operations, with the ability to require social distancing and masks.
- Unlike some other states, Arizona never issued a statewide mask mandate, and instead encouraged personal responsibility with an aggressive educational campaign — resulting in more widespread mask usage than states with mandates. Some local governments have implemented “mandates,” however, they have rarely, if ever, been enforced. Under this latest action, those local mandates will be phased out. Mask usage is still encouraged, especially in groups that are not vaccinated.
It feels like a step in the right direction for Firetruck Brewing CEO Taylor Carter.
″I think it’s good news for everybody,” said Carter. “With the downward trend, this just seemed naturally that this was going to happen.”
The governor’s announcement that businesses can ease up on restrictions is what Carter will follow, leaving his customers to decide what feels right to them.
″We’re all adults here and we can make our own decisions. So if somebody wants to wear a mask, they are fully capable of doing that and we encourage that.”
His staff will stay masked up for the time being and will continue the 6 feet of distancing. But he feels this is an inclination that life may be getting back on track.
″I’m hoping that this will allow more people to come out and businesses will start to thrive again,” said Carter.
Downtown, the news comes as Penca owner Patricia Schwabe plans to re-open for the first time since October due to COVID.
“We’re definitely not going to have a free for all because we still want people to feel comfortable when they come here. And I think people still need to feel we’re still following protocols,” said Schwabe.
Due to the restaurant’s size, they’ll be sticking with 50% capacity inside. However, her outdoor patio will be staying put, as a way to keep business going.
The new phase of mitigation puts power in the hands of the business owner, allowing them the ability to require masks and distancing. Options that owners like Schwabe will consider.
″I’m a business owner. I’m going to have to use my judgement and maybe create my own set of standards for my restaurant,” said Schwabe.
The Governor’s release said mask mandates would be “phased out”, but the exact wording of his executive order, which is official, is that they would end “effective immediately”.