Partiers pack into Arizona bars and nightclubs as COVID-19 cases skyrocket in the state
On May 15, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey lifted the state’s stay-at-home order and everyone rushed out to restaurants, stores, and bars like everything was normal. A drive through downtown Scottsdale on a Friday night looked like any other pre-pandemic weekend, and now — not surprisingly — Arizona’s COVID-19 cases are rising at an alarming rate.
Photos and videos of packed nightclubs and bars in Arizona are popping up all over social media and in almost all the videos, there does not seem to be any social distancing, or masks, in play.
Scottsdale's entertainment district tonight. Packed. pic.twitter.com/Ezw1nTduIY
— Bianca Buono (@BiancaBuono) June 13, 2020
Everyone was panicking about the viral Lake Of The Ozarks pool party over Memorial Day weekend, but Arizona parties seem to look like that every weekend.
This is largely happening because of Governor Ducey’s attitude about the virus. “What an Arizonan decides to do is up to them,” he told The Los Angeles Times. When Ducey announced his plan to reopen the economy on May 15, AZ Central reported that scientists at ASU, who had been researching the pandemic and providing models to the government in an advisory capacity, told the governor that it’s not safe to reopen, but Ducey did so anyway and then swiftly let the ASU scientists know that their services are no longer needed.
The Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) confirmed Tuesday, June 16, there have been 39,097 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Arizona and Tuesday saw the greatest single-day spike, with 2,392 new cases reported since yesterday. LA Times reports that the percentage of positive tests has been rising sharply as well, from 5% in May to 13% this week. Then, last week, The Arizona Department of Health Services director informed hospitals in the state to “fully activate” their emergency plans.
Despite all this, it’s very unlikely that Arizona will reinstate lockdowns as Ducey made it clear that we have to “live with” the virus.
“There’s not a cure for this virus, and there’s not a vaccine for this virus,” the governor said at a news conference (via Newsweek). “So this virus is something we need to learn to live with,
The images from Old Town Scottsdale this weekend are disturbing, & frankly show a real lack of common sense & civic responsibility. Businesses & their patrons need to realize that individually we each play an absolute part in our own personal hygiene, distancing… 1/
— Mayor W.J. Jim Lane (@MayorJimLane) May 27, 2020
Most of the state’s mayors don’t agree with Ducey (like Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane who called the partiers “disturbing“), but because of an executive order from Ducey, individual mayors can’t set stricter social distancing guidelines than those set at the state level.
Additionally, Ducey encourages, but doesn’t enforce, mask-wearing or social distancing and the Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ supported Ducey’s laissez-faire attitude saying there’s nothing they can do “to stop the [coronavirus] spread” so citizens “can’t stop living as well.”