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Some Arizona Gyms aim to open today as virus cases decline


PHOENIX (KYMA, KECY, AP) — Gyms across metro Phoenix and Tucson are expected to reopen Thursday as coronavirus transmission numbers in three major Arizona counties are likely to drop to moderate levels that allow them to restart their businesses.

Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ said earlier this week that three large counties that include those cities should fall from “substantial” to “moderate” spread levels when the state releases its weekly metrics Thursday morning. The counties are Maricopa, Pima and Pinal.

Gyms aren’t waiting for the numbers to be posted, with many reopening well before the expected 9 a.m. posting.

Gyms, bars and nightclubs, movie theaters and water parks were ordered to close on June 29 by Gov. Doug Ducey as the state experienced a huge surge in coronavirus cases. As cases ebbed in late July the health department issued reopening guidelines for affected businesses. Daily case counts that once topped 4,000 are now regularly under 500.

State guidelines drafted by Christ’s department say gyms can reopen at 25% capacity once a county hits moderate transmission rates but must commit to implementing strategies to prevent the spread of the virus. Gyms are also urged to use a reservation system.

Bars and nightclubs also can open at 50% occupancy levels, but only if they convert to restaurant service and implement stringent health department guidelines. Bars with no food service must remain closed.

Water parks and movie theaters also are allowed to reopen at 50% capacity once their county hits the moderate spread measurement.

Five smaller counties — Cochise, Coconino, Greenlee, LaPaz and Yavapai — already are rated at “moderate.”

Arizona is fast approaching 200,000 coronavirus cases. The number of infections is thought to be higher because many people have not been tested. Studies suggest people can be infected without feeling sick.

For most people, COVID-19 causes mild or moderate symptoms that clear up in a few weeks. But for some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

Article Topic Follows: Arizona News

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Gabriel Salazar

You can catch Gabe Salazar reporting on Sunrise at 6 a.m and 7 a.m.

The Associated Press


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