Arizona doctor 'concerned' over Gov. Ducey's decision to end COVID-19 capacity restrictions

Restaurants and bars in the Valley are open without capacity limits on Saturday, but is Arizona reopening too soon amid the COVID-19 pandemic? A doctor weighs in.

Dr. Andrew Carroll, who practices family medicine in Chander, says he's concerned about packed businesses leading to a new surge but understands why Gov. Doug Ducey made the decision on Friday to lift capacity restrictions on restaurants, gyms, theaters, water parks, bowling alleys and bars.

His announcement comes as more than 1.3 million people have been vaccinated in the state against the coronavirus, while cases have plateaued in the last few weeks.

"I'm actually very concerned about this decision. I don't think we're there yet. I don't think we're ready to open Arizona," Dr. Carroll said.

He says the state has thousands of new cases, patients remain in the ICU, people are still dying from the virus and we don't have herd immunity in Arizona or the US.

In downtown Phoenix on Saturday, businesses were buzzing.

Dr. Carroll says if you're heading out, make sure you do it safely. He's hoping that Arizonans and visitors stay mindful of the dangers of the virus. 

"Especially those who have not been immunized need to continue to do the social distancing and please wear a mask wherever you go and if you see that a place is too crowded, walk away ... just because of the governor said it's OK, it doesn't make it OK. So just remember to make good decisions on your own behalf, to keep your health and your family's health in check," Dr. Carroll said.

Just a day after Ducey lifted capacity limits, hospitalizations dipped below 1,000 for the first time in four months.

Nearly 19% of Arizonans have now received at least one dose of the vaccine.

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