PHOENIX - Local leaders will no longer have the authority to enforce a mask mandate for restaurants and area businesses, that’s according to House Bill 2770 which Governor Ducey signed into law.
However, the governor signing the bill into law does not mean that businesses can’t require masks.
Lawmakers explain that each individual business owner will be able to make that choice for themselves, but some health officials say they think it’s going to cause a lot of problems down the road.
"It allows businesses to make their own decisions and to not enforce mask mandates that are put on by the government," says Republican lawmaker Joseph Chaplik.
Governor Ducey already lifted COVID-19 restrictions last month. But since then, local leaders in places like Phoenix, Flagstaff, and Tucson have discussed reinstating mask mandates.
"I believe in the free market. People will go where they want if they want to wear a mask. They will go to a store that will enforce a mask. If they don’t want to wear a mask, they will go to stores that will not enforce the mandate," Chaplik said.
Executive Director of the Arizona Public Health Association, Will Humble, says the bill will cause issues down the road.
"It is tying the hand of any future governor that might need to use an intervention and build in a business-based system, which we should have had all along," Humble said.
He also believes as it stands right now, the bill is going to cause problems in health care facilities, saying, "Gets rid of regulations that the state health department has that requires infection control with masks in hospitals and other kinds of medical facilities."
Ducey said in a statement that he is confident the legislature will pass another bill to clear that up. Humble says he thinks that should have been made more clear in the initial bill.