Governor Ducey Removes Restrictions from Restaurants – Keeps Recommendations

Today, Governor Ducey anounced the end of restaurant related COVID-19 restrictions. Under the Governor’s new Executive Order, the restaurant and bar requirements will become recommendations‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌ ‌

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COVID-19 Update
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Governor Ducey Removes Restrictions from Restaurants – Keeps Recommendations
Today, Governor Ducey announced the end of restaurant related COVID-19 restrictions. Under the Governor’s new Executive Order, the restaurant and bar requirements will become recommendations and the local mask ordinances in place will no longer be enforceable.

“As we’ve said all along, distribution of the vaccine is our best path to getting back to normal, and I want to thank the millions of Arizonans who have rolled up their sleeves to make the distribution and uptake so successful,” said Governor Ducey. “In Arizona, we never did a shutdown, so it’s impossible to have a grand reopening. Instead, we are continuing to take reasonable, safe and sensible steps. The measures put in place last summer allowed Arizona to fight back COVID-19. I want to thank the local leaders who supported these efforts with their own measures, and the businesses who implemented them. Today, we are in a different spot, and we are also a lot smarter. I’m confident Arizona’s businesses and citizens will continue to practice the fundamentals and act responsibly as we gradually get back to normal."

“Restaurants across Arizona have done an incredible job at implementing mitigation measures, protecting patrons and staff, and remaining flexible,” said Arizona Restaurant Association President & CEO Steve Chucri. “Our restaurants know what to do, and Governor Ducey’s updated guidance will allow them to operate the best way they see fit. Thank you to Governor Ducey for working to protect Arizonans and our economy.”

What does this mean for Restaurant and Bar Operations?

Simply, this new order allows restaurants to resume pre-pandemic operations with no more restrictions on operations. In general, if you were allowed to do something in February of 2020, you can return to those same activities effective immediately, including but not limited to:

  • Booking groups larger than 10
  • No distancing requirements for guests
  • Resuming buffet and self-service operations
  • Allowing open seating and guest congregation
  • Dancing, parlor games, and karaoke

However, the Governor is still encouraging businesses and the public to act responsibly. Before returning to traditional operations, businesses should evaluate what COVID-19 mitigation measures they wish to keep in place, if any. While these restrictions are no longer enforceable, operators should still be aware of CDC and OSHA guidance for workplaces and ensure any changes made do not create additional liability for the business by checking in with counsel. The ARA will continue to provide updates.

Operators are encouraged to discuss any potential changes to operations with their staff and analyze what level of increased customer count their current staffing level can support. Operators should also encourage their staff members to get vaccinated and direct them to one of the State vaccination sites or essential worker specific PODS. The ARA will continue to announce new vaccination opportunities as they become available.

For questions, please contact Dan Bogert at dan@azrestaurant.org

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