Will There be a Compliance System this Time?

As you recall from last week’s blog post, the ADHS has proposed benchmarks for when bars, nightclubs and gyms can re-open.  When a county reaches numeric benchmarks like a defined percent positivity rate the paused businesses are free to re-open if they implement safety protocols and guidelines and turn in an attestation form committing to stay in compliance.

The benchmarks for each county are posed on the ADHS’ Dashboard.  That dashboard shows whether the county meets the benchmarks. There’s a drop-down box that let’s you see each individual county’s metrics. The default is the statewide numbers.

Editorial Note: Several counties are coming close to meeting the metrics that will allow bars and nightclubs to open again. And while each business will be required to attest that they are implementing the mitigation guidelines, there is still no defined compliance and enforcement system to ensure that the businesses stay in compliance.

Without a rigorous and compliance system that is enforceable it’s highly likely that large numbers of bars and nightclubs will ignore the mitigation guidelines and behave exactly like they did from May 15 all the way until late June when the governor finally “paused” these businesses. If that happens we will again see a dramatic growth in cases and percent positives which will jeopardize the opportunity for in-person instruction in our K-12 system.

Such a compliance system isn’t rocket science. The state could require each of these businesses to post a number to a complaint hotline (perhaps even the smoke free Arizona hotline). Complaints could be distributed to the county health departments who could send out their Environmental Health Specialists (Sanitarians). Businesses that are out of compliance as determined by the county inspector would have their attestation canceled. Business closes. Compensation for that work could come via CARES Act money. Voila, compliance.