Arizona mayors are free to make wearing face masks mandatory to slow the spread of coronavirus, Gov. Doug Ducey said June 17, a turnabout amid pressure as the state became a national virus hotspot.
The Republican governor, who entered his weekly virus news conference for the first time wearing a face mask but took it off to speak, said allowing cities to decide would work better than a statewide mandate.
The governor had as recently as last week resisted allowing cities to do more than the state allows to slow the virus spread, saying statewide directives avoid a patchwork of regulations. But he pointed to vastly different county rates of COVID-19 cases and alluded to pushback that some more conservative counties may have to a mandate.
Cities and counties requiring face masks
“Prior to the Governor’s announcement, Avondale had already decided to implement a mask requirement for all individuals entering a city facility (effective June 22.) City employees are also required to wear masks when interacting with the public,” stated Mayor Kenn Weise.
The state is seeing an alarming rise in coronavirus cases. As Mayor, I want everyone in the City to stay healthy. I want to ensure that our first responders, health care workers and hospitals are not overwhelmed responding to this public health crises. I have directed city staff to work on a local emergency order to protect the health of the public, and to evaluate legal and enforcement considerations with regard to this local order.”
Effective June 18 at 12:00 a.m., “All persons within the city of Bisbee will wear a mask designed for or appropriate to the halt and spread of COVID 19 virus while in public.”
Residents are now required to wear masks when in public buildings and private businesses.
“Wearing a face mask protects others like your Mom, Dad, Grandmother, Grandfather, Aunt, Uncle and anyone that you love or may know that has a diminished immune system,” stated Mayor Craig McFarland.
“In response to Governor Ducey’s directive on June 17th, today the Town of Carefree issued a proclamation requiring that face masks be worn in any public area within the Town of Carefree to assist in reducing the spread of COVID-19. The Town welcomes you while doing its part to protect you from the spread of this unprecedented novel virus.”
On June 19, the Cottonwood City Council voted down requiring people to wear face masks in public. After the vote, Mayor Tim Elinski stated that he will be moving forward with a proclamation to require face masks in public.
Flagstaff city officials say the use of masks or face coverings will be required in public areas, beginning 8:00 p.m. on June 20.
Prior to Gov. Doug Ducey’s news conference on Wednesday, Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans asked the city’s attorney to start work on amending their local emergency proclamation to require the use of masks.
Since June 1, “any visitor to the courthouses in Payson or Globe will be required to wear a mask, face covering, or face shield,” stated officials. “If you’re unable to secure a mask of your own, one will be provided for you.”
Gila River Indian Community
“With positive tests for coronavirus continuing to spike in Arizona, I am determined to exercise an abundance of caution,” said Gov. Stephen Roe Lewis. “In the face of such a serious situation statewide, my new Executive Order requires all persons on Community lands to wear a mask when in public and not on a federal or state right of way. I am working with our Police and Public Health Departments, and our Office of General Counsel to implement effective enforcement for this new critical public health measure.”
The Gilbert Town Council has adopted an emergency order requiring the wearing of face masks in public effective June 19 at 5 p.m.
Exceptions to the mask mandate are children under the age of 6, restaurant patrons while dining, those who cannot wear a mask due to a medical or behavioral health condition, and when complying with law enforcement.
The emergency order will remain in effect for at least 30 days.
Mayor Jerry Weiers issued a proclamation mandating the use of face coverings for people age 6 and older within the City of Glendale. It will go into effect at 12:01 a.m. June 20.
“I take my responsibility for the welfare of our community seriously and I cannot shy away from the impact COVID-19 has had throughout our community and beyond, but instead must be resolute in my actions in doing what I feel to be right for the health and well-being of Glendale citizens and visitors.”
The proclamation and exceptions will be available at https://glendaleaz.com/mayor.
On June 19, Mayor Valerie Molina issued a proclamation requiring face masks to be worn in all public accommodations within the Town of Guadalupe.
Read the proclamation: https://www.guadalupeaz.org
“Governor Ducey announced new public health guidance and a new Executive Order 2020-40 to respond to the COVID-19 public health emergency. Therefore, beginning Monday, June 22, 2020, anyone entering a city government building will be required to wear a mask; this includes city team members and members of the community.”
During a special meeting of the Board of Supervisors on Friday, the board adopted a proclamation that requires people to don face coverings within the county. The proclamation was adopted in a unanimous vote.
“Wearing a face mask while around others and without sufficient physical distancing — especially indoors or in other more crowded environments — is unequivocally directed by the health experts and should be respected and followed by all for the benefit of everyone in our town and our state,” stated Mayor Jerry Bien-Willner.
“It is with mixed feelings that I am implementing the mandate of the public wearing of masks as of 5pm today [June 18] until further notice. I am working hard to continue to try and keep the balance between personal safety and keeping our businesses open. I am asking that you continue with the other safety measures we have been adhering to – social distancing and hand sanitizing,” stated Mayor Tom Morrissey.
In a 7-2 vote on June 19, the Phoenix City Council voted to implement the wearing of facial coverings in the public to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Read the details and exemptions: https://www.phoenix.gov/newsroom
Mayor Gallego says Valley mayors are trying to work together as much as possible so mask requirements are similar across cities.
Pima County’s Board of Supervisors voted 3-2 in favor of requiring face masks in public.
“Today, at an emergency meeting, the Pima County Board of Supervisors voted to require masks that cover your mouth and nose for anyone in public places who are unable to continually social/physically distance,” stated Supervisor Sharon Bronson.
Mayor Gerardo Sanchez and Vice Mayor Maria Cecilia Cruz signed a proclamation and continued a Declaration of Emergency mandating face coverings in public spaces that went into effect June 17.
Salt River Pima-Maricopa Indian Community
“The Gila River Indian Community announced today, June 18, 2020 protective face coverings will be mandatory on GRIC tribal lands when in public locations. The measure is meant to ensure the safety and health of the Community’s members, children, elders, and all Gila River employees.”
“The purpose of the directive is to reduce the risk of exposure to COVID-19 in our Community,” stated President Martin Harvier. “And to protect our membership, residents, employees, businesses, and visitors on our Community lands.”
Santa Cruz County
On June 19, the Santa Cruz County Board of Supervisors approved a Proclamation requiring all residents in the unincorporated areas of Santa Cruz County to wear face coverings when in public.
“We are grateful for the Governor’s new Executive Order that allows the County to put in place the mandatory use of faces masks in public places. This pandemic is taking a heavy toll on Santa Cruz County, Arizona and the nation. Face masks will go a long way towards helping to prevent the spread of this deadly virus and I ask every resident in our community, or any visitor to our county, to wear one, no matter the place or how quickly they will be in and out of a store, a restaurant or a public office or public space where other people are present. We will continue to focus on this situation until the COVID-19 virus is defeated,” stated Bruce Bracker, Santa Cruz County Supervisor, District 3.
In a statement released Thursday afternoon, officials with the city of Scottsdale say masks will be mandatory in the city, beginning 5:00 p.m. on June 19.
“The proclamation requires people to cover nose and mouth within all public accommodations within the city, which includes grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants and bars, gyms and similar facilities, retail stores, special events and public transit. Businesses that interact with the public must require employees to wear face coverings as well,” read a portion of the statement.
Earlier, the city says they are evaluating the legal and enforcement considerations before determining whether a local emergency ordinance mandating masks in public will be created.
Mayor Jerry Anaya signed an emergency proclamation, effective June 18 at 8:00 a.m. that requires face coverings for all individuals in public areas within the city limits.
Effective June 20, face masks will be required within the City of Surprise, with limited exceptions.
“We all have an easy opportunity to care for each other and reduce the number of contracted cases of COVID – it’s as simple as maintaining physical distance and covering your mouth and nose,” stated Mayor Mark Mitchell. “I am thankful to the Governor for allowing cities and towns like ours to do what we believe is best for our communities based on local conditions. Since the Governor’s order yesterday, hundreds of Tempe residents have expressed their support for this action.”
Read the proclamation: https://tempe.gov/home/showdocument?id=83069
“Declaring regulations and advisories is necessary for public safety and protection of life and to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. We can save lives by simply wearing face coverings. I will require face coverings because your life matters to me” stated Mayor Anna Tovar.
Read the proclamation: https://www.tollesonaz.org
Effective Saturday June 20, at 6 a.m., every person in the City of Tucson over the age of 2 years is required to cover their nose and mouth with a face covering when in a public setting where continuous physical distancing is difficult or impossible.
The Chairman of the Yuma County Board of Supervisors issued a proclamation effective 1:00 p.m. June 18, requiring face coverings for the purpose of mitigating the spread of COVID-19.
Read the proclamation: https://www.yumacountyaz.gov
“Effective Thursday, June 18, 2020 at 1:00 p.m., any person over the age of two (2) who is in a place open to the public, whether indoor or outdoor, and who is unable to or does not maintain a distance of approximately six (6) feet from every other person, shall cover his or her mouth and nose with a face covering, except where a person is unable to wear a face covering due to a medical condition or a person is otherwise exempted by the Arizona Department of Health Services from doing so. A person who declines to wear a face covering because of a medical condition shall not be required to produce documentation verifying the condition. This requirement applies to all workers and customers of businesses and other organizations open to the public that are permitted to operate.”
Read the proclamation: https://www.yumacountyaz.gov
Decisions to be made:
Cities will hold special city council meetings in the coming days to discuss measures to reduce the spread of COVID-19, including a mandate for residents to wear masks.
The Buckeye City Council will hold a special meeting on June 23, at 4 p.m. to discuss a possible resolution regarding the use of facemasks in public to slow the spread of COVID-19. The meeting will be livestreamed at https://youtube.com/c/BuckeyeArizona.
“For health and safety, City Council Chambers are currently closed. Public comments can be done by email or phone. Email comments to email@example.com by 2 p.m. on June 23. To comment by phone, complete the public comment form by 2 p.m. on June 23 at https://bit.ly/30U63gB.”
“The City is currently working with our legal team on how to proceed with new guidance from Governor Ducey as it pertains to face mask requirements. Additionally, the Governor may provide upcoming clarification on the mask policy and will briefly await our decision until further details emerge,” stated Mayor Jon Thompson.
“I want to inform you that I will be joining the coalition of mayors signing a proclamation that will mandate wearing a face mask in public when social distancing cannot not be accomplished. Our City Attorney is currently working on the details that includes enforcement. We anticipate this order to go into effect by midnight Sunday [June 21]. The main goal is to slow the spread and start bringing the curve down for the health and well being of our residents. The spread and numbers in our community are rising rapidly. Thank you for your continued support and cooperation as we all work together to get this pandemic in our state under control,” stated Mayor Al Gameros.
“Goodyear Mayor Georgia Lord has called an executive session of the full council for legal advice on this new Executive Order to take place, Friday June 19 at 6 p.m. Due to the pandemic, the meeting is closed to the public in addition to all future public meetings until further notice. If residents would like to share their opinions on face coverings with the council, they can do so by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.”
La Paz County
The La Paz County Board of Supervisors will hold a special meeting to discuss and possible action regarding Governor Ducey’s Executive Order on Containing the Spread of COVID-19, Continuing Arizona Mitigation Efforts.
“I am working with Peoria City Council and our Executive team to determine a Peoria plan that is measured and thoughtful, which I hope to share more about very soon,” stated Mayor Cathy Carlat.
“Governor Ducey gave local government agencies authority to implement specific regulations and requirements regarding face coverings. We are still reviewing guidance from the Arizona Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control, as well as the details of governor’s order. Due to the timing of this change in direction from the governor’s office, we do not yet have direction to share. However, we will publish a special edition of Talk of the Town tomorrow [June 19] with an update on what this means for the Town of Pinetop-Lakeside,” stated Keith Johnson, Town Manager.
During a meeting on June 23 at 4:30 p.m., plans on if, when and where face coverings would be required will be discussed.
“To provide feedback on this topic in the safest way possible, the public is encouraged to email City Council using this portal instead of attending the meeting in person.”
Cities and counties encouraging face mask use:
“While the Cochise County Board of Supervisors is not mandating the wearing of face coverings in public, it is strongly encouraging residents to follow current health guidelines to help stop the spread of COVID-19,” stated officials.
“To arbitrarily put out an ordinance would not be right at this time,” said Supervisor Tom Borer. “I think we need to look for ways to boost our campaign messaging.”
The City of El Mirage is strongly encouraging the use of face coverings in public spaces when social distancing of at least six feet is not possible.
“With the rise of COVID-19 cases, growing concern for the El Mirage community has been continuously top of mind,” stated Mayor Alexis Hermosillo, “It is imperative that our community play an active role in promoting an environment that is safe for everyone and strongly encourage residents and guests to wear a mask and practice physical distancing. I am calling on every person in our City to contribute to keeping each other healthy and safe, and utilize the tools provided by the City to make this possible.”
“Wear a cloth face covering in public. You’re protecting yourself, your family, and others in the event you are infected and don’t have any symptoms,” was posted on the City of Eloy’s Facebook page.
Lake Havasu City
“We are grateful to Governor Ducey for the flexibility to make local decisions that meet the health needs of our community,” said Mayor Cal Sheehy. “We will continue to monitor cases in Lake Havasu City and make the best decisions based on data for the health and safety of our citizens. In an effort to continue to slow the spread of COVID-19 we encourage citizens and visitors to follow the guidance and wear face covering when unable to physically distance.”
“The Town strongly encourages that individuals over the age of two wear face coverings in public, however, the Town will not be issuing a legal mandate requiring it,” stated officials.
“Minimize your risk by following recommendations,” was stated on Sun City’s Facebook page.
“We must continue to monitor positive test results as well as hospital and respirator availability. We are not going to mandate mask-wearing, but we strongly encourage everyone to wear a mask when in public and in enclosed areas,” stated Yavapai County Board of Supervisors Chairman Craig Brown.
No face mask requirements:
“I’ve stated this is up to the individual. If you feel you’re at risk, stay home. I also hope that folks don’t get upset at businesses that require PPEs, as that is their right also. People need to take responsibility for their own lives. I think it’s sad that some put their safety in the hands of a mayor, councilmember or governor. We must learn to live in the modern world on our own eventually. There are always going to be risks and illnesses out there and we’ll get through it. Also, everyone is essential and every job is essential to providing for a household. I recommend that you keep a mask on hand, in your vehicle or office, in case you visit a business or other facility where they are required,” stated Mayor Jeff Serdy.
In a Facebook comment on June 18, the Town of Cave Creek stated, “At this time the Town has no mandatory mask policy.”
“While we will not mandate the wearing of face masks at this time, we encourage the citizens of Chino Valley to follow the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines. We urge all to practice social distancing, wear facemasks when in public, avoid large gatherings, and wash hands and use hand sanitizer when soap and water isn’t readily available,” stated Chino Valley Mayor Darryl Croft.
“For my part I am going to have a mask with me at all times. If I find myself in a situation where I can’t physically distance, I will wear it. I will wear my mask in stores and other places where I know I cannot physically distance,” stated Mayor Greg Mengarelli. “In coordination with Yavapai Community Health Services, I will not create any new policies or requirements of our citizens at this time. However, I strongly urge citizens to follow the protocols set forth by the County, and the Arizona Department of Health Services.”
The Town of Queen Creek recommends the use of face coverings in public, however, they are not required.
“As the Governor mentioned during his press conference, it is the personal responsibility of Arizonans to protect themselves from COVID-19,” said Queen Creek Mayor Gail Barney. “With the increase in COVID-19 cases in Arizona, we encourage residents to observe healthy behaviors to help slow the spread.”
The City of Sierra Vista will continue to recommend the use of face coverings in public when social distancing is difficult but will not require their use.
“While we have had COVID-19 cases confirmed in the Sierra Vista area, our city is not one of the hot spots seeing a surge in new cases,” Sierra Vista Mayor Rick Mueller says. “We will not at this time require the use of face coverings in Sierra Vista. Wearing face coverings remains highly recommended, not required.”