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Gov. Ducey Lifts Mask Mandates, Re-Opens Bars

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AP, file
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Governor Doug Ducey has lifted most remaining COVID-19 restrictions in the state.

The Republican says it comes as Arizona has seen months of dropping infection rates and increased vaccine distribution. Ducey’s order allows businesses to enforce mask mandates if they want, but cities, towns and counties must lift theirs. Restrictions on gatherings of 50 or more people were also lifted but organizers are required to "encourage" physical distancing. Bars in the state will also be allowed to resume regular operations.

State health officials say they’ve now administered more than 3 million doses of COVID vaccine. About 16% of Arizona’s population has now been fully vaccinated. The Arizona Republic reports, epidemiologists have warned against lifting restrictions too quickly, saying it could cause a surge in cases, especially with new variants of the virus.

The Arizona Deprtament of Health Services Thursday reported 138 additional confirmed cases of COVID. It’s the smallest daily increase reported in more than six months. Thirty-two COVID deaths were also included on the state’s virus dashboard. Arizona reported about 80 new daily cases in early September in between the summer surge and worse spike in the fall and winter when daily infection reports reached as high as 17,000. 

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