Arizona shuts bars, theaters, parks amid virus resurgence
Arizona’s Republican governor shut down bars, movie theaters, gyms and water parks today, and leaders in several states ordered residents to wear masks in public in a dramatic course reversal amid an alarming resurgence of coronavirus cases nationwide.
Among those implementing the face-covering orders is the city of Jacksonville, Florida, where the mask-averse President Donald Trump plans to accept the Republican nomination in August. Less than a week after Mayor Lenny Curry said there would be no mask requirement, city officials announced that coverings must be worn in “situations where individuals cannot socially distance.”
Trump has refused to wear a mask during visits to states and businesses that require them.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey’s order went into effect immediately and for at least 30 days. Ducey also also ordered public schools to delay the start of the classes at least until Aug. 17.
“Our expectation is that our numbers next week will be worse,” he said.
Arizona health officials reported 3,858 more confirmed coronavirus cases Sunday, the most reported in a single day in the state so far and the seventh time in the last 10 days that daily cases surpassed the 3,000 mark. Since the pandemic began, 74,500 cases and 1,588 deaths stemming from the virus have been reported in Arizona.
Most Arizona bars and nightclubs opened after Ducey’s stay-at-home and business closure orders were allowed to expire in mid-May.
The state is not alone in its reversal. Places such as Texas, Florida and California are backtracking, closing beaches and bars in some cases amid a resurgence of the virus. Oregon and Kansas, meanwhile, announced today that everyone would be required to wear masks in public.
In New Jersey, Gov. Phil Murphy announced today that he’s postponing the restarting of indoor dining because people have not been wearing face masks or complying with recommendations for social distancing. New Jersey has been slowly reopening, and on today indoor shopping malls were cleared to start business again.
In Texas, a group of bar owners sued on today to try to overturn Republican Gov. Greg Abbott’s order closing their businesses. They contend Abbott doesn’t have the authority, and they complained that other businesses, such as nail salons and tattoo studios, remain open.
“Gov. Abbott continues to act like a king,” said Jared Woodfill, attorney for the bar owners. “Abbott is unilaterally destroying our economy and trampling on our constitutional rights.”
But New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo said that Abbott is on the right path, and he added that Trump should order the wearing of masks.
“States that were recalcitrant … are doing a 180, and you have the same states now wearing masks,” Cuomo said. “Let the president have the same sense to do that as an executive order, and then let the president lead by example and let the president put a mask on it, because we know it works.”
Governors in Oregon and Kansas said they were issuing executive orders requiring people to wear masks in public. Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s order will require people to wear face coverings in indoor public spaces starting Wednesday. Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly said she will issue an executive order mandating the use of masks in public starting Friday. She said details of the order would be forthcoming.
“The evidence could not be clearer — wearing a mask is not only safe, but it is necessary to avoid another shutdown,” Kelly said.
Idaho is moving in a different direction, at least when it comes to the elections. Despite the continuing spread of the virus, state elections officials said today that they would allow in-person voting — as well as mail-in ballots — for August primaries and the November general election, the Idaho Statesman reported. Idaho’s May 19 primary was the first statewide election held by mail only. The primary had record voter turnout.