Arizona Gov. Ducey limits indoor dining at restaurants to less than 50% capacity amid surge in COVID-19 cases

Governor Doug Ducey is holding a news conference on July 9 at 3 p.m. as Arizona’s death toll from the coronavirus outbreak topped 2,000 and state health officials reported new highs for COVID-19 hospitalizations and use of ventilators.

The Department of Health Services reported 75 additional deaths, increasing state’s total to 2,038. The additional 4,057 confirmed cases reported on July 9 brought the total to 112,671.

Arizona a national hotspot for COVID-19

Arizona has emerged as a national hotspot since Ducey loosened stay-home restrictions in mid-May. The state had a record 3,437 patients hospitalized as of July 8, with a record 575 of those on ventilators. The 861 patients in ICU beds and the number of 1,980 emergency room visits for the disease were just short of records set this week, according to Department of Health Services figures.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

On June 29, Ducey rolled back the state's reopening by announcing the closure of bars, gyms, movie theaters, water parks, and tubing for at least 30 days.

Indoor dining capacity reduced

During the news conference, Gov. Ducey announced that indoor dining capacity at restaurants will be limited to less than 50% of its original capacity, as set by fire officials.

The decision will take effect at 10:00 p.m. on July 11, according to Patrick Ptak with the Governor's Office.

"The objective here is if you are going to eat inside to make sure there are as few people as possible inside that establishment," said Gov. Ducey.

Following the announcement, Arizona Senator Kyrsten Sinema criticized the announcement by Ducey, claiming that an identical measure was already announced from June 17.

In response to the accusation, Ptak said that an updated document was uploaded to the website, at the same address as the original document.

Restaurant association official responds

Following the announcement, FOX 10 spoke with Steve Chucri, CEO of the Arizona Restaurant Association, on Ducey's announcement on restaurant capacity.

"We are going to continue to push forward and be innovative," said Chucri.

Chucri said more restaurants will start to implement misters and other technology, in order to make it more enticing for patrons to dine outside in Arizona's triple-digit summer heat.

"We will need to use that space because we are losing dining rooms," said Chucri.

Project launched to increase testing

In addition, Gov. Ducey announced that COVID-19 testing will be expanded exponentially, in an effort called "Project Catapult." During the news conference, Gov. Ducey said they aim to conduct 60,000 tests per day by the end of August.

In addition, Gov. Ducey has reiterated the importance of wearing a mask, continuing with social distancing measures, and handwashing.

Despite calls by a group of medical professionals for a reinstitution of a stay-at-home order and a mask-wearing mandate, Gov. Ducey did not announce either measure during the news conference.

Arizona mayors, physicians want Ducey to implement statewide mask mandate

Democratic leaders and Arizona physicians are calling on Governor Ducey to take stronger action against COVID-19.

The mayors of Phoenix, Tempe, Tucson, Flagstaff, and Tolleson sent Ducey a letter asking for a statewide mask mandate, increased testing, and the closure of more businesses and activities that might further the spread of coronavirus.

Democratic state representatives Charlene Fernandez and Kelli Butler also plan on sending the governor a letter.

More than 200 Arizona physicians have also sent Ducey a letter asking for the governor to implement a statewide mask mandate and stay-at-home order.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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COVID-19 Resources

In order to protect yourself from a possible infection, the CDC recommends: 

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth.
  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, then throw the tissue in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces using a regular household cleaning spray or wipe.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after going to the bathroom; before eating; and after blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing.
  • Monitor your health daily

MAP: Worldwide interactive Coronavirus case data

MAP: Arizona Coronavirus cases by zip code


CDC: How coronavirus spreads, symptoms, prevention, treatment, FAQ

Arizona COVID-19 resources, FAQ:

On, you'll find extensive coverage about COVID-19, including breaking news from around the country, exclusive interviews with health officials, and informative content from a variety of public health resources.


Symptoms for coronavirus COVID-19 include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. These, of course, are similar to the common cold and flu. 

Expect a common cold to start out with a sore or scratchy throat, cough, runny and/or stuffy nose. Flu symptoms are more intense and usually come on suddenly, and can include a high fever. 

Symptoms of COVID-19 may appear more slowly. They usually include fever, a dry cough and noticeable shortness of breath, according to the World Health Organization. A minority of cases develop pneumonia, and the disease is especially worrisome for the elderly and those with other medical problems such as high blood pressure, obesity, diabetes or heart conditions.

RELATED: Is it the flu, a cold or COVID-19? Different viruses present similar symptoms

Right now there's one big difference between flu and coronavirus: A vaccine exists to help prevent the flu and it's not too late to get it. It won't protect you from catching the coronavirus, but may put you in a better position to fight it.

To protect yourself, wash your hands well and often, keep them away from your face, and avoid crowds and standing close to people.

And if you do find yourself showing any of these flu or coronavirus symptoms - don't go straight to your doctor's office. That just risks making more people sick, officials urge. Call ahead, and ask if you need to be seen and where.

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