PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- As the Labor Day weekend comes to a close, some public health experts worry the festivities could lead to a second wave of COVID-19 cases. While some behaviors have improved safety, other factors may drive up cases.
Public Health officials say they're aware of a possible COVID-19 surge over Labor Day weekend.
"Now we're going to see how well people follow the rules," says Dr. Shad Marvasti, Director of Public Health and Prevention at the UA College of Medicine in Phoenix. "The good thing we have going for us is the fact that more people are wearing masks and there are more rules in place, but the challenge is having so many more things open again."
Marvasti believes the public may have a false sense of security and use less caution. He points to the long Memorial Day weekend which was followed by a spike in cases the following month.
Many attractions have been closed for months. The Wildlife World Zoo in the west valley opened just in time for the holiday weekend, but with measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
"We knew that we had an environment that would be a lot safer than some of the other environments you can bring children," says zoo spokesperson, Kristy Morcom. "We felt that it was important to the community that we did open up."
Labor Day weekend is one of the biggest social gathering holidays in the US, which poses added risk to most celebrations when they coincide with a pandemic. But that doesn't mean you have to stay indoors, either.
Morcom says September is one of the slowest months at the park, and visitors will have plenty of room to spread out at the 100-acre property. Masks are required when social distancing is not possible, and guests will find dozens of hand sanitizer stations throughout the zoo. "We wanted to make sure we had all of our ducks in a row," says Morcom.
Marvasti notes individuals are six times less likely to get infected with COVID-19 when they are outdoors. He says the choices families made over the three-day weekend coupled with the opening of schools and universities could have a significant impact on the number of coronavirus cases in Arizona.