Cities and counties across Arizona are moving quickly to act on their newfound powers after Gov. Doug Ducey announced he would allow local governments to mandate that people wear face masks in public to combat the spread of COVID-19.
Avondale, Bisbee, Casa Grande, Flagstaff, Payson, San Luis, Tempe, Tolleson and Tucson have already announced new mask policies via emergency declarations from their mayors. The Chairman of the Yuma County Board of Supervisors also issued an emergency proclamation requiring mask usage on Thursday.
Others are planning meetings, mostly on Thursday night or Friday, so their city councils can vote on mask proposals.
The Phoenix City Council will meet on Friday to vote on a new mask policy, as will Mesa, Glendale, Gilbert and Yuma. Chandler’s city council will meet Thursday night, while Buckeye and Sedona’s councils will meet June 23.
Nogales Mayor Arturo Garinoa, whom Ducey cited as one of the local leaders who lobbied him to allow cities to enact their own mask mandates, will issue a mask mandate on Thursday, a spokeswoman told the Arizona Mirror. And the Nogales International reported that Santa Cruz County may enact its own policy, as well.
The Maricopa and Pinal County boards of supervisors will also meet on Friday to discuss the possible implementation of a public mask mandate.
Other cities are considering possible mandates but haven’t yet made decisions. Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane, where nightclubs have been packed without no apparent mask usage or social distancing since Ducey’s stay-at-home order expired on May 15, is working with the city’s legal team on a mandatory mask policy.
“As (a) government we are balancing the need to act for the sake of community-wide public health, while also allowing as much personal freedom as we can. Once all policy considerations are addressed, the mayor plans to issue an emergency declaration enacting the regulation,” a post on the City of Scottsdale’s Facebook page read on Thursday.
Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat hasn’t committed to a mask policy, but wrote on her Facebook page Friday that she is working with the city council and staff to “determine a Peoria plan that is measured and thoughtful, which I hope to share more about very soon.”
Sahuarita Mayor Tom Murphy planned to consult with his town manager and town attorney on a possible mask mandate on Thursday, the Green Valley News reported.
Not everyone is taking advantage of Ducey’s new policy. Several cities and counties have already announced that they won’t impose mask mandates.
Prescott Mayor Greg Mengarelli and Prescott Valley Mayor Kell Palguta announced on social media that they won’t enact mask policies. Palguta wrote on Twitter that the decision is “not because we do not care but because we respect our citizens rights and personal decisions.”
Apache Junction, Chino Valley, Cochise County, Kingman, Lake Havasu City and Yavapai County have also announced that they won’t require people wear masks.
In a post on the city’s Facebook page, Apache Junction Mayor Jeff Serdy said mask usage should be up to individuals. He also urged people to keep masks on hand for businesses and other buildings that require them, and asked people not to get upset at businesses that require customers to wear masks.
“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,” Serdy wrote.
The Mohave County Board of Supervisors rejected a proposed mask mandate at a meeting on Thursday.
Will meet to vote on mask mandates:
Won’t issue a mandate:
Lake Havasu City