As Covid-19 vaccines are now rolling out across Arizona, state and business leaders are calling on employees and employers to get Covid-19 vaccinations. They also are asking everyone to continue to take safety precautions, at least until vaccine supply exceeds demand.
For more than two months, Arizona has seen low infection rates, low hospitalizations and a high rate of vaccinations, prompting Gov. Doug Ducey last week to lift all restrictions on businesses.
Reports of rising cases in other states are reason enough to continue to remain diligent here, said Garrick Taylor, interim president and CEO of the Arizona Chamber of Commerce & Industry.
“Our state has come so far in reducing the spread of the virus and administering millions of vaccines. We don’t want to lose that momentum,” Taylor said.
Keeping the momentum going
A large percentage of businesses are continuing to mandate masks and follow sanitary procedures to keep customers and employees safe, Taylor said.
Most grocery stores announced they are keeping mask mandates in place. Trade associations like the Arizona Tourism and Lodging Association are asking members and travelers to keep safety precautions in place. Meanwhile, Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport and other airports continue to be under federal mandate to require travelers and employees and all district and charter K-12 schools are still under orders to wear masks.
Essential employees are being vaccinated by level of risk
Essential employees of any age can now get vaccinated statewide and the state has also opened up vaccines to individuals 16 and older.
Frontline and essential employees will continue to remain at the top of the priority list and are being vaccinated in order of highest risk for exposure. The order for vaccinations for essential employees is:
■ Grocery store, convenience store, and carniceria workers
■ U.S. Postal Service
■ Manufacturing workers
■ Public transit workers, including buses, light rail, Uber, Lyft, taxis, and rideshare
■ State and local government workers
■ Funeral home workers
More than 3 million people in Arizona vaccinated
More than 3 million people have been vaccinated with at least one dose in Arizona. Those most at risk of becoming seriously ill, particularly the elderly, are largely vaccinated, removing the biggest concern. Hospitals and ICU units have space for Covid and other patients, according to the state Department of Health Services (DHS).
Business restrictions lifted
With Arizona’s lower infection rates and plenty of space in healthcare facilities, Gov. Ducey acted to lift the mask and other mandates on businesses last week.
The state is recommending the continued use of masks and other precautions. Businesses can require customers to wear masks and can refuse service to anyone who refuses to comply.
Arizona’s top public health official, AZ DHS Director Dr. Cara Christ, also recommends citizens continue to mask up, social distance and wash their hands frequently even if they are vaccinated.
There are still unknowns as the virus progresses and new variants enter the state. In a statement released Friday, the DHS reports that the South African variant, which spreads at a faster rate, has been detected in the state and current vaccines for Covid-19 “appear to be effective against it.”
How to get a vaccine
Information about all vaccination sites across Arizona can be found at azhealth.gov/findvaccine. Those without computer access or needing extra help registering can call 1-844-542-8201 to be connected with someone who can assist.
For up-to-date information on vaccines administered and vaccination rate per 100,000 see COVID-19 Vaccination Phase by County.