Arizona governor lifts capacity limits at gyms, restaurants News Staff

PHOENIX — Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Friday lifted capacity restrictions at gyms, restaurants and other businesses and said he’ll allow Major League Baseball to hold spring training games.

Ducey cited declining COVID-19 cases and the rollout of the vaccine. Masks and social distancing requirements remain unchanged.

The lifting of capacity restrictions applies to gyms, restaurants, theatres, water parks, bowling alleys and bars providing dine-in services.

Ducey took a more measured approach than his fellow Republican governors in Mississippi and Texas, who this week rescinded their mask mandates and capacity restrictions entirely in a swift return to normal.

“Today’s announcement is a measured approach; we are not in the clear yet,” Ducey said in a statement. “We need to continue practicing personal responsibility. Wear a mask. Social distance. Stay home when you’re sick and wash your hands frequently.”

Arizona has not had a statewide mask mandate, but most local governments implemented them and are unaffected by the governor’s order.

Arizona has passed the 2 million mark for COVID-19 vaccine doses administered to 1.3 million people, including 711,074 people who have received two doses, the Department of Health Services said Friday.

“This is certainly a milestone, but there is plenty of work ahead and millions more Arizonans in need of vaccination,” said Dr. Cara Christ, the department’s director.

Arizona on Friday reported 84 coronavirus deaths along with 2,276 additional confirmed cases, a number nearly double the state’s latest rolling average of daily new cases.

The latest figures raised the state’s pandemic totals to 823,384 known cases and 16,269 deaths.

Arizona’s seven-day rolling average of daily new cases was 1,171.6 as of Thursday, down from 1,584.6 on Feb. 18, while the rolling average of daily deaths dropped from 87.7 to 62 during the same period, according to The COVID Tracking Project data.

The number of infections is thought to be higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

The number of coronavirus-related hospitalizations in the state continued to decrease, with 1,043 inpatient beds occupied as of Thursday, the state’s coronavirus dashboard showed. Arizona’s pandemic high was 5,082 hospitalizations on Jan. 11.

The Associated Press

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