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Maricopa, Pima, Pinal Counties Poised To Meet Benchmarks To Reopen Some Businesses

Published: Wednesday, August 26, 2020 - 4:00pm
Updated: Thursday, August 27, 2020 - 7:48am

The three largest counties in Arizona may meet coronavirus transmission benchmarks on Thursday that would allow businesses like bars and gyms to reopen at limited capacity.

But the mitigation measures required of those businesses could be ineffective without government efforts to enforce compliance.

Maricopa, Pima and Pinal counties are poised to meet benchmarks for reopening some businesses in a limited capacity.

Bars, gyms and other establishments closed under Gov. Doug Ducey’s orders must first sign attestation forms detailing how they’ll comply with strategies to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.

But if the reopening is going to succeed, former state health director Will Humble said Arizona officials must come up with a way to monitor how those businesses behave.

"The only way you can accomplish that is by having accountability to those attestations that those businesses signed that they agreed to, you know, as they begin operating, but if you don't catch the bad actors, I'm telling you, the system is going to fall apart fast," Humble said. 

Maricopa County officials said their response to complaints about businesses out of compliance will first focus on education before law enforcement gets involved.

State health officials announced they’ve created a hotline for the public to file complaints against businesses out of compliance. The COVID-19 Compliance Hotline is 1-844-410-2157. Complaints can also be filed online

Officials have warned that they’ll strictly enforce businesses that don’t comply. But Humble said that requires active monitoring.

"That's the key. How would they become aware? for that, you need the people of Arizona to be your eyes and ears, and you need the businesses to spy on each other, quite honestly, so that they identify the people that are cheating, that are their competitors. And that's how you get the complaints in," he said. 

→ Get The Latest News On COVID-19 In Arizona