By Maria Polletta | Arizona Republic
Citing expanded vaccine distribution and declining case numbers, Gov. Doug Ducey on Thursday lifted all remaining COVID-19 restrictions on businesses and events in Arizona.
In a surprise announcement, the Republican leader said:
Events of more than 50 people, including youth sports and concerts, will no longer need approval from local governments.
COVID-19 requirements for businesses will become “recommendations,” though he noted businesses could continue to mandate masks and social distancing.
Bars can resume all regular operations.
Local mask mandates will be “phased out.” Cities can continue to require masks in government buildings and on public transportation.
“In Arizona, we never did a shutdown, so it’s impossible to have a grand reopening,” Ducey said in a statement. While measures imposed last summer “allowed Arizona to fight back COVID-19,” he said, the state is “in a different spot today.”