PHOENIX - Officials with the City of Phoenix say the city's mask mandate will remain in place.
According to a statement released on April 6, the city, after consideration and review with legal counsel, has determined that the city's mask mandate, which was issued on June 19, 2020, will remain in effect.
"The mandate follows Arizona Department of Public Health Face Covering Guidance, and is in accordance with current Centers for Disease Control guidance stating that masks should be worn, in addition to staying at least 6 feet apart to prevent the spread of COVID-19," read a portion of the statement.
This announcement came almost two weeks after Arizona Governor Doug Ducey's decision to lift certain COVID-related restrictions, including local mask mandates.
Gov. Ducey's decision, which was announced on March 25, transitions the current guidance for business from requirements to recommendations, and businesses will have the "ability to continue requiring masks and social distancing."
Under the new order, businesses are still allowed to enforce mask mandates if they want, but cities, towns and counties must lift theirs.
At the time, Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego criticized the decision, saying it "directly contradicts the best scientists on the field."
"The horrible surge last June was only curbed by masking- when the Governor finally allowed cities to do it," Gallego wrote. "To abandon precautions now is like spiking the ball on the 5-yard line."
This conflict has created confusion for business owners who are having trouble defending their mask requirements without the help or backup from local government.
"It would be nice if there was consistency in the state," said Carol Nalevanko, President of The Village Health Clubs and Spas, which has a location in Phoenix.
Nalevanko says they have largely still required COVID mitigation measures, but says the only true way out is for people to get vaccinated.
"I think it’s time for people to take some personal responsibility and get vaccinated," said Nalevanko. "We also have a responsibility to keep our employees safe, that’s why after the Governor’s order, we didn’t just blow the doors open."
The Associated Press (AP) contributed to this report.
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CDC Website for COVID-19
https://espanol.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html (In Spanish/En Español)
AZDHS Website for COVID-19