Restaurants can open their dining rooms back up on Monday, May 11, Governor Doug Ducey announced today.
Ducey said in a press conference last week that the "best-case scenario" for restaurants would be a May 12 reopening. But it seems that's been moved up a day on account of some positive data trends.
The state has released a one-page health sheet, titled "Guidance for Restaurants Providing Dine-In Services," that outlines precautions that should be followed by diners and food service workers at restaurants and coffee shops alike.
Those recommendations include dining during off-peak hours, using touchless payment, avoiding the use of shared items like menus and condiments, and, for those at higher risk for severe illness, continuing to opt for takeout and delivery. Restaurants are also being asked to “develop standards for the use of non-medical grade masks or cloth face coverings by employees when near other employees and customers.”
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“Arizona continues to focus on protecting public health, supporting those in need and ensuring we’re taking the necessary steps to return stronger,” Governor Ducey said in his statement. “Our efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 are working — and Arizonans are still encouraged to limit time away from home. Arizona will continue to take a steady approach and work with the Arizona Department of Health Services as we breathe life back into our businesses and provide guidance on reopening. More to come.”
The Arizona Restaurant Association was quick to applaud the move.
“We are thrilled as an industry to reopen restaurants and return to business in accordance with the new guidelines set forth by Governor Ducey today,” said the association's president and CEO Steve Chucri in a release. “Most importantly, there will be many procedures in place by restaurateurs to ensure the utmost safety and health of diners and staff.”
For more information, see the Office of the Arizona Governor Doug Ducey website.