“Whether its business owners, or religious community leaders, leaders of our banks, you name it, we’ve sought to listen and gather feedback,” Ptak said Friday. “But our decisions have been driven by public health and what’s best for public health and how we can best keep Arizonans safe and healthy.”
The governor was criticized after nightclubs and bars became packed with patrons soon after he ended his stay-home order on May 15. Many health experts said those types of gatherings led to a surge of cases that forced new lockdowns in late June.
The Arizona Medical Association sent a letter to Ducey on May 22 saying people in bars were not social distancing and urging him to continue to stress that people should keep their distance from one another and wear masks.
“Now, there is proof of overcrowded bars, people elbow to elbow, increasing significant risk of potential spread and a resurgence of the virus,” the association’s president, Dr. Ross Goldberg, wrote to the governor. “While we recognize that enforcement of these guidelines is not the easiest task to accomplish, we reiterate that they are of vital importance.”
Ducey didn’t act, bars remained open, and a surge of cases followed that turned Arizona into a national virus hotspot.
The medical association’s CEO, Libby McDannell, followed up with a June 15 email to a Ducey adviser and state Health Services Department Director Dr. Cara Christ asking for a meeting to discuss the concerns of their member physicians.