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Arizona Implements Enhanced COVID-19 Mitigation Measures, Requiring Action of All Arizona Businesses

  • June 18, 2020

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey has announced renewed efforts to contain the spread of COVID-19 as the state has seen a recent surge in the number of cases. As part of this effort, the Governor issued Executive Order 2020-40 (EO 2020-40), which imposes requirements instead of making recommendations, as well as new guidance for all Arizona businesses.

The new guidance has a wider application than previous COVID-19 mitigation guidance from the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS).

EO 2020-40

EO 2020-40 provides the ADHS the authority to implement a statewide system for case investigation and contact tracing. It also makes Arizona National Guard members available to boost manpower for contact tracing efforts.

Additionally, EO 2020-40 gives local governments the authority to implement mask and face-covering policies specific to the local public health need. Several local officials, including the mayors of Arizona’s two largest cities, Phoenix and Tucson, have already signaled that mask-related COVID-19 mitigation measures will be announced soon.

In a press conference on June 17, 2020, Governor Ducey strongly recommended all persons wear masks or face coverings when indoors and unable to maintain six feet of distance from others, but he stopped short of any statewide mandate.

New Guidance for All Arizona Businesses

Building from Executive Order 2020-36 (Stay Healthy, Return Smarter, Return Stronger), issued on May 12, 2020, the Governor’s Office has released updated guidance from the ADHS directing businesses to protect workers and customers and mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

Unlike previous guidance that contained many recommendations regarding best practices for specific industries, the new guidance provide specific health measures that must be taken by all Arizona businesses, including:

  • Ensuring physical distancing;
  • Providing employees with face coverings and requiring usage;
  • Conducting symptom checks for all employees before shifts; 
  • Requiring sick employees to stay home; and
  • Increasing the frequency of employee hygiene, cleaning, and disinfecting. 

Under all circumstances, the following precautions are required for businesses operating in Arizona:

  • Where possible, businesses must implement and enforce physical distancing requirements of at least six feet between employees or customers, including:
    • At least six feet in between tables, chairs, or desks if in an open space.
    • Physical barriers, six-foot spacing marks, or signage in any location where queues may form or patrons may congregate.
    • Reduced occupancy and capacity to accommodate six feet physical distancing and limiting areas where customers and employees can congregate.
    • Barriers or signage to promote physical distancing or provide remote opportunities, such as delivery or pick-up, for consumers.
    • Close or limit access to congregate settings, such as lunchrooms, employee lounges, or break rooms.
    • Ensure proper use of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as gloves, face coverings, or respirators, as required.
    • Implement policies and encourage teleworking where feasible.
  • In businesses where services cannot be provided without physical distancing, all possible efforts must be made to physically distance to the greatest extent possible and the business must implement and enforce a policy for the use of face coverings by employees and customers when feasible.
    • Maintain physical distancing, to the extent possible.
    • Provide and require employees to wear masks when possible.
    • Operate with reduced occupancy (consider operating by appointment-only) and limit areas where customers and employees can congregate.
    • Implement comprehensive sanitation protocols.
  • According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations, employees should wear a cloth face covering when possible.
  • Implement symptom screening for all personnel, including wellness or symptom checks or temperature checks, prior to the start of their shift, when possible.
    • Maintain physical distancing guidelines and use PPE while conducting health checks.
    • Health checks should be done in a private location and information should be kept confidential.
    • Employees who appear to have symptoms should immediately be separated from others and sent home.
    • Have a plan in place for safely transporting sick employees to their home or healthcare provider.
  • Require sick employees to stay home and not return until they have met criteria to return to work.
    • However, employers should not require a COVID-19 test result before allowing employees to return to work.
  • Increase the frequency of employee hygiene, cleaning, and disinfection.
    • Ensure hand sanitizer is available at or near entrances, restrooms, and work areas.
    • Where possible, ensure soap and running water are readily accessible.
    • Post signs on how to stop the spread of COVID-19, properly wash hands, promote everyday protective measures, and properly wear a face covering.
    • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces, such as keyboards, phones, handrails, and doorknobs.
  • Use disposable items when possible and wipe common surfaces between each use by a customer.
  • Post signage at building entrances prohibiting individuals who are symptomatic from entering the premises.
  • Continue to provide options for delivery or curbside service if possible.

Local law enforcement will have the authority to enforce these guidelines.

Requirements for Restaurants, Bars Providing Dine-In Services

In addition to the guidance above, applicable to all Arizona businesses, the following extra precautions are required for restaurants and bars providing dine-in services in Arizona:

  • Enforce physical distancing of at least six feet between customers.
    • Limit parties to no more than 10.
    • Clearly mark tables and chairs that are not in use.
    • Maintain clearly marked six-foot spacing marks or signage in locations where queues may form or patrons may congregate.
    • Bar top or counter seating is not allowed, unless there is six feet of distance between parties.
  • Cloth masks and frequent handwashing are required for all servers, host staff, and employees who interact with customers.
  • Intensify cleaning, disinfection, and ventilation practices.
    • Wash, rinse, and sanitize food contact surfaces, food preparation surfaces, and beverage equipment after use.
    • Implement comprehensive sanitation protocols, including increased sanitation schedules for bathrooms.
  • Sanitize customer areas (including tables, chairs, booths, and table-top condiments) after each sitting and wipe any shared surfaces between each use by a customer.
  • Eliminate instances where customers serve their own food (for example, salad bars and buffets).
  • Support healthy hygiene practices for both employees and customers (including handwashing and covering coughs and sneezes) and ensuring hand sanitizer or soap and running water are readily accessible to staff and customers.
  • Use disposable or digital menus, single serving condiments, and no-touch trash cans and doors whenever possible, instead of reusing or sharing items.
  • Post signage at the restaurant entrance prohibiting individuals who are symptomatic from entering the premises.
  • Continue to provide options for delivery, pick-up, or curbside service.

Reopening orders contain extensive requirements creating compliance issues that can vary significantly depending on the specific state or local jurisdiction. Jackson Lewis attorneys are closely monitoring updates and changes to legal requirements and guidance and are available to help employers weed through the complexities involved with state-specific or multistate-compliant plans.

If you have questions or need assistance, please reach out to the Jackson Lewis attorney with whom you regularly work, or any member of our COVID-19 team.

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