Bars have now opened across almost all of Arizona. There are just a few counties that haven’t yet met the moderate spread metrics- and over 90% of Arizonans now live in counties where bars are open. In order to open, bars are supposed to go to the ADHS website and attest that they will follow mitigation measures.

Following mitigation measures is critical in these businesses. As we saw between May 15 and June 26 bars and nightclubs create super-spreading environments without mitigation.

Over the last couple of weeks there has been some strong administrative advocacy urging the state to develop a meaningful compliance program to ensure that bars and nightclubs follow the required mitigation measures upon opening. ADHS had already been requiring bars and nightclubs to sign attestations that they’ll follow mitigation measures, but until late last week there wasn’t an organized active compliance system.

The advocacy worked and late last week the department announced that they would be sponsoring a COVID-19 Compliance Hotline at 1-844-410-2157.  They committed to investigating complaints by referring them to the county health departments or in some cases investigating the complaints themselves.

Editorial Note: Let’s hope that the plan is well organized and works. If the compliance program isn’t effective, we can expect broad non-compliance with mitigation as we say earlier this summer, creating an increase in cases. If that happens, students in the K-12 system will suffer if that happens because counties would no longer meet in person instruction benchmarks in short order. That lost opportunity would be directly attributable the lack of an effective compliance system for bars and nightclubs.