Some Arizona Businesses To Leave COVID-19 Safety Precautions In Place Coronavirus in Arizona

PHOENIX (3TV / CBS 5) – Even though Governor Doug Ducey lifted COVID-19 security restrictions on bars and restaurants on Thursday, some owners are keeping them in place.

“We pride ourselves on having the best experience for our customers. But also our employees, our servers, our reception staff. I want them to feel safe,” said Jorge Gomez, chef and owner of Humble Pie and Humble Bistro, which is slated to open on Monday.

Governor Doug Ducey’s new COVID-19 guidelines on Thursday morning released downgrading requirements for businesses into recommendations and allow bars to resume normal operations.

Gomez says he will keep his new restaurant’s capacity at around 50% and require customers to wear a mask when they are not seated.

He says Governor Ducey’s executive order is a good thing and indicates the state is moving in the right direction. Still, Gomez says he wants to do what’s right for the community right now.

Governor Ducey announced on Thursday another easing of COVID-19 restrictions and that several would be lifted on bars and events.

“Take temperatures, use masks, so that everyone can have a space where they feel safe, and [employees] to feel happy to work, “said Gomez.” And also to come and enjoy it without feeling too focused. “

For many, this is the first time in a year that they have seen their waiters and waitresses without masks.

“I give my staff and clients the choice of whether to wear a mask or not to wear a mask, and social or non-social distancing,” said Steve McDonald, owner of Social Tap in Scottsdale.

McDonald has said he understands why some may think this freedom is too early, but he agrees with that.

“We have to start somewhere and move forward at some point. I think someone is always going to think that now is not a good time. So think it was a great decision to just take it, ”he said.

The reaction from restaurant goers to the prospect of full capacity restaurants and maskless patrons has been mixed.

“I think I would be comfortable, but I’m going to take my personal precautions anyway. I think we need another month maybe,” said Sue Tearpak, who was walking down Roosevelt Row on Thursday.

Restaurants react to the decree

Gomez says he will keep his new restaurant’s capacity at around 50% and require customers to wear a mask when they are not seated.

Others echoed that they thought the decree was premature.

“I think we will get to a point where there will be (sic) more people vaccinated but at the moment I do not support this new mandate,” said Maggie Muma.

And some business advocates fear the decree will put bars and restaurants that require a mask and social distancing in a difficult position.

“It’s really important to them that people are safe,” said Nicole Underwood of the Roosevelt Row Community Development Corporation. “And when you have executive orders that you know contradict those efforts, it’s harder for companies to maintain those security measures.”

What does the new decree mean for concert halls and theaters?

A spokesperson for the Arizona Department of Health Services told the Arizona family, although there are no rules preventing large indoor concerts, the Executive Order recommends following the CDC’s recommendations.

Thursday’s announcement changes nothing for the Herberger Theater Center in downtown Phoenix.

“We plan our approach according to CDC guidelines,” said Mark Mettes, theater marketing director. “So as long as the CDC guidelines say 6 feet away, masks on… that’s what the Herberger Theater is going to do.”

The association pivoted during the pandemic and built an outdoor stage. Concerts are sold out this weekend, Mettes said.

“People are just happy to go out. They are happy to experience the arts in a safe way,” he added.

“I don’t think, from what I’m hearing, that the performing arts are really ready to reopen because we care so much about our patrons,” said Joseph Benesh, executive director of Citizens for the Arts for Arizona.

Governor Doug Ducey has lifted mask warrants and other restrictions for COVID-19, but theaters say it’s too early to start having live shows again.

There are more than 300 arts and culture organizations in the state, Benesh said. “Each of them has a different plan because they work differently. Some hold people in a performance space. Some of them are only outdoors.”

Andrew Birgensmith, of the Celebrity Theater in Phoenix, also said Governor Ducey’s new order would not affect their operations.

It’s important for customers to feel safe, Birgensmith told Arizona’s Family Thursday, and they don’t yet feel like it’s the right thing to do. The theater will continue with concerts in the outdoor parking lot.

Birgensmith, they are considering possible indoor shows again in September.

Mountainside Fitness also implements personal choices.

“If you still want to wear a mask you still can, and I think you can always have that choice, you just don’t have to,” said Tom Hatten, Founder and Chairman of the Board. from Mountainside Fitness. “We just exploded to be honest with you in a good way because people are excited, and I think they wanted to train and feel they can breathe.”

Most of the people who were training were happy with the change.

“Personally, I’m really excited. I think with all the vaccines out, it’s a step in the right direction, ”said David Youngentod, who was training without a mask.

“I have always felt safe here. If you look at everyone here, we are all healthy and anyway, we all distance ourselves socially. I mean, when you’re training you’re not above someone anyway, ”said Brennan White.

Some still chose to take precautions.

“You can still do a good workout by wearing a mask and that just signals your surroundings and the people here that you care,” said Brian Hall, who has chosen to always wear a mask during training.

But overall it was a similar feeling that life is finally starting to get back to normal.

“It’s refreshing to see people become sociable again. I think a lot of people missed this. I definitely was, ”White said.

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Susan W. Lloyd