The order from the Republican governor, Doug Ducey, came on Monday and went into effect immediately, and will last for at least 30 days. Ducey also also ordered public schools to delay the start of the classes at least until 17 August.
“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 Monday that everyone would be required to wear masks in public.
In California over the weekend, the governor, Gavin Newsom, ordered bars and nightclubs in nine counties to close, including Los Angeles, which has nearly 100,000 cases – the most of any region of the state.
The state is in the midst of trying to “toggle back” plans to reopen as case numbers and hospitalizations flare up in sections of the state. Red flags have been raised on a number of metrics, including “disturbing trendlines” in positivity rates, hospitalizations and ICU admissions.
Particularly hard hit is southern California’s Imperial county, where an outbreak is taxing the region’s hospital system. In recent weeks, health officials have had to move roughly 500 patients into neighboring regions, burdening their hospital systems, too.
Newsom has urged Imperial county to reissue a stay-at-home order that had been previously lifted, and on Monday leveled the threat of a heavier hand if the county chose not to take the advice.
Meanwhile in Texas, a group of bar owners sued on Monday to try to overturn the Republican governor 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.
Ducey has faced criticism for what fellow lawmakers see as a failure to react to the severity of the crisis. A letter sent by the Democratic congressman Ruben Gallego in mid June chastised the governor for failing to highlight the “seriousness of the growing public health emergency our state is facing”.
While Ducey has urged Arizonans to keep their distance from one another in public, he refused to issue a statewide order to wear masks and until recently resisted calls by some cities to allow them to require masks.
The move also comes less than a week after Donald Trump visited the Arizona-Mexico border and held a rally in Phoenix in which few people wore masks.