Covid-19 and Limiting Indoor Dining in Arizona

Jennings, Strouss & Salmon, PLC

The State of Arizona has recently seen a dramatic increase in the number of individuals testing positive for COVID-19.  On July 9, 2020, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey issued Executive Order 2020-47, entitled Reducing the Risk, Slowing the Spread, Limiting Indoor Dining.

Executive Order 2020-47 mandates new rules for restaurants and other dining establishments that have indoor seating.  More specifically, it provides that all restaurants in Arizona with indoor seating must operate at less than fifty percent (50%) of their permitted occupancy as determined by the local fire code.  The Executive Order also requires at least six (6) feet of space between parties or groups, unless separated by glass or plexiglass.  While the title of the Executive Order suggests that it only applies to indoor dining, it also requires at least 6 feet of physical distance between outdoor tables and other outdoor seating areas.  It also provides that restaurants with retractable roofs or garage type windows or doors are considered indoor dining facilities for purposes of this Executive Order, regardless of whether the roof, windows, or doors are open or closed in these establishments.

In addition to limitations on indoor seating capacity, the Executive Order requires restaurants to eliminate indoor standing areas where customers can congregate, and recommends that restaurants limit their indoor capacity by taking fewer reservations.  Regardless of whether they could comply with the above requirements, all buffets and cafeteria-style dining options at restaurants are now required to close

Finally, for purposes of the Executive Order, the term “restaurant” includes any establishment that is regularly open to serve food for compensation and has kitchen facilities connected with that establishment.  This Executive Order becomes effective at 10:00 p.m. on July 11, 2020, and remains in place until further notice.

While these measures will hopefully “reduce the risk” and “slow the spread,” only time will tell whether Executive Order 2020-47, along with other COVID-related measures recently implemented in Arizona will be enough to bring this pandemic under control in our state.

DISCLAIMER: Because of the generality of this update, the information provided herein may not be applicable in all situations and should not be acted upon without specific legal advice based on particular situations.

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