With viral outbreaks continuing, Gov. Doug Ducey on Monday put off the start of school, closed bars and issued new restrictions on swimming pools.
And forget organized Fourth of July celebrations.
In a wide-ranging series of orders, the governor effectively conceded that his decision to allow people to go drinking, tube down the Salt or Gila rivers and go to water parks makes no sense, at least for the immediate future.
The order is not permanent and will run only for a month. That paves the way for Labor Day festivities — assuming Ducey does not renew his orders.
But even at that point, the order requires these businesses to certify, in writing, that they are following all public health guidance requirements.
The order on schools puts off a start date until Aug. 17. That’s about two weeks later than what most districts had planned.
Less clear, however, is how that affects the requirement for schools to be operating for 180 days to get full state funding. And that mandate was reaffirmed just a week ago when the governor and state schools chief Kathy Hoffman announced the plan to maintain funding for public schools.
More immediately, the new orders will put a damper on Independence Day fireworks.
Nothing precludes cities and other groups from having the aerial displays.
But it does bar gatherings of more than 50 — unless a local government provides what amounts to a permit after being assured that there will be proper distancing and protections for observers.
Pools can remain open, but with restrictions.
For public pools, like those run by cities or at hotels or motels, there have to be restrictions against more than 10 people.
Semi-private pools at condos and apartments will have to post signs informing those in and around the water about that 10-person limit.
But forget about water parks and tubing. Like bars, these will be off limits for a month.
Ducey closed all bars in restaurants in March following decisions already made by the mayors of Tucson and Flagstaff.
He relented in early May, allowing sit-down dining at restaurants. Even then, however, he said that did not apply to bars.
But his administration relented, with the Department of Liquor Licenses and Control permitting any bar to open — and serve customers — as long as food was made available. That could include anything from snacks to a food truck parked outside.
The result has been some viral videos of bars packed full of patrons, with few wearing masks or social distancing.
Last week the governor declined to reverse himself even after similar action by his Republican counterparts in Texas and Florida. Instead, Ducey said he would crack down on those “bad actors” who did not follow proper health protocols.
Now, all that has changed. And this time, the governor is drawing a fine line between restaurants, which can remain open, and bars which will have to shutter for a month.
That has to do with their licenses: Any establishment where food sales are less than 40 percent of revenues are considered bars and will be closed. Those with food sales greater than 40 percent can remain open if they are licensed as restaurants.
As of Monday there were 1,588 deaths in Arizona and 74,533 confirmed cases.
Those numbers included no new deaths reported and just 625 new cases. But state health officials said that latter figure was because one laboratory had not met the deadline for filing reports.
By contrast, there were 3,858 cases reported the day before.
Chris Minnick, spokesman for the Department of Health Services, said the positive tests will end up on Tuesday’s numbers.
As to the deaths, Minnick said that is unrelated to the problem with the laboratories. But he said that figures after weekends often tend to be lower.