TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - When Arizona Governor Doug Ducey introduced his 30 day pause in the reopening of bars, gyms, movie theaters and water parks, it became obvious he had a target.
Arizona has for weeks been in the headlines as one of the worst state’s in the nation when it came to battling the coronavirus.
And leading the way, was the spike in cases among the 20-44 age group, which now account for nearly half the cases in the state.
When asked if the pause was directly aimed at that demographic the Governor’s office replied “Yes it is. That’s where we are seeing the largest increase in cases. In the 20-44 age group. We also know that this age group makes up 22 percent of those hospitalized, showing the risks this virus poses even for the relatively younger.”
That was also the assessment of Dr. Francisco Garcia, the Chief Medical Officer in Pima County.
“I feel this was a very significant action,” said Dr Garcia. “It’s going to have an impact on precisely the demographic that’s been the most troublesome demographic.”
In recent weeks, since the Governor opened the state in Mid-May, that group overall has paid scant attention to the virus.
Mass protests in Phoenix and Tucson, large gatherings, bars which did not require masks or social distancing and large crowds which gathered to “tube” down the Salt River.
“I think we all saw the photos and videos of some of the things that we happening around our state this weekend,” Ducey said.
It’s likely the younger population is not as concerned about mortality as the older generation, but Ducey says there are other issues.
“But they can also share with Mom and Dad, Grandma and Grandfather,” he said. “That’s a message we need to amplify.”
But the blanket order targeting the large gatherings was thought to be unfair by some of those affected.
Nicole Rivera, owner of Apex Martial Arts is one of those who thinks it’s unfair.
“It’s really frustrating because we were trying to do the best we could,” she said. “It’s just scary to have to deal with it again.”
Just when her gym was starting to recover a bit from the stay at home and closure order in March, she faces another 30 day pause.
“It’s a slow process to recover from everything that happened before and to be shut down for another month, that’s huge,” she said.
The Governor left enforcement action to the cities and counties.
Pima County will meet next week to determine how to handle the enforcement and what penalties there might be for non-compliance.
And it appears they could be rather tough.
“We want people to know we’re serious about this,” said Board Chair Ramone Valadez.