ASU president alleges some bars violating COVID-19 protocols

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In this photo provided by Jack Howell, people crowd sidewalks and the inside of several restaurants that were open for business in Wickenburg, Ariz., Saturday, May 2, 2020. Two restaurants in the community that allowed people to eat in the establishments in violation of an order issued by Arizona's governor to help stop the spread of the coronavirus will be reported to the town attorney for a decision on possible citations, police said Saturday. (Jack Howell via AP)

Arizona State University President Michael Crow alleges several restaurant-bars near the school’s Tempe campus have violated the safety protocols businesses must abide by to operate amidst the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Arizona Republic reported Sunday that Crow sent a letter to Arizona Department of Health Services Director Dr. Cara Christ and the head of the state Department of Liquor Licenses and Control about the alleged violations by some Mill Avenue eating and drinking establishments.

The letter was accompanied by photos and descriptions of people inside various bars who were not wearing masks or doing social distancing on Sept. 5 and 6, according to the Republic.

The alleged violations “represent the kind of undisciplined and risky activity which, if not properly addressed in a timely manner, could worsen COVID-19 spread among the ASU community and in the larger community surrounding the Tempe campus,” the letter said.

According to ADHS guidelines released Aug. 10, bars can only operate as restaurant service dining during the phase that started on Aug. 27, when the county reached a “moderate” spread category COVID-19.

It also requires bars to operate at 50% occupancy, ensure social distancing, require masks for employees and customers not actively eating or drinking, eliminate standing room where customers congregate and prohibit dancing, karaoke and parlor games.

Since the Aug. 27 reopening of some Phoenix-area bars, a few businesses were ordered to shut down after violating coronavirus guidelines.

Arizona Department of Health Services officials on Sunday reported 384 more confirmed coronavirus cases and seven additional deaths amid continued slowing in the coronavirus outbreak in the state.

The additional cases increased the statewide total to 208,512 and the known death toll to 5,322.

COVID-19-related hospitalization metrics reported by the department continued to drop, a trend that began in July after the state became a national hot spot in June.

Johns Hopkins University data analyzed by The Associated Press showed drops in seven-day rolling averages of daily new cases and daily deaths over the past two weeks.

The number of infections is thought to be far higher because many people have not been tested, and studies suggest people can be infected with the virus without feeling sick.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. But for some — especially older adults and people with existing health problems — it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

Republished with the permission of The Associated Press.