The cities of Flagstaff, Peoria, Phoenix, Tempe, and Tucson will reinstatement the requirement for people to wear masks when inside city-owned buildings and facilities, such as libraries and aquatic facilities. The requirement will include those who are vaccinated and those who have not been vaccinated.
In response to an increase in the B.1.617.2 Delta variant of the novel coronavirus, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Tuesday updated its COVID-19 guidance around masks and recommended people wear masks when indoors in areas where there is “substantial or high” community spread.
According to the CDC’s online COVID Data Tracker, 13 of the 15 counties in Arizona, including Maricopa, Pima, and Pinal, are all considered to be in “high” or “substantial” spread. Cochise and Yuma counties are considered to be in “moderate” spread.
The mask requirement has been issued for government buildings only. There is no mask requirement for private businesses, such as bars, restaurants, and stores. However, businesses can set their own rules for their customers and employees.
The following cities will require masks in city buildings:
- Tucson: Began Wednesday, July 28
- Peoria: Began Thursday, July 29
- Tempe: Began Friday, July 30
- Flagstaff: Began Friday, July 30
- Phoenix: Begins Monday, August 2
Chandler, Gilbert, and Glendale do not anticipate issuing mask requirements, according to statements from their spokespersons.
With schools opening again for in-person learning, the CDC also recommended “universal indoor masking” for everyone, including teachers, staff, students, and visitors regardless of their vaccination status.
Kathy Hoffman, Arizona Superintendent of Public Instruction is encouraging people to follow the CDC’s new guidance.
However, Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey in June signed an executive order that prohibits schools from requiring students to wear masks or get the vaccine in order to return to in-person learning. Schools can continue to encourage people to get the vaccine.
“Arizona does not allow mask mandates, vaccine mandates, vaccine passports or discrimination in schools based on who is or isn’t vaccinated. We’ve passed all of this into law, and it will not change,” the governor said in a statement, on Tuesday, following the CDC’s and ADHS’ recommendations.