Pima County Says Mask Mandate Still Valid

Despite Ducey’s order, Pima County officials said Tuesday that the Tucson-area face mask mandate remains in effect regardless of the Arizona Governor’s executive order issued last week to lift it.

Last Thursday, Ducey rolled back the state’s remaining COVID-19 mitigation requirements, citing low viral spread and vaccine distribution metrics.

His order declares that local governments can’t make any regulations pertaining to the pandemic and specifically mentions face masks.

The county issued a press release Tuesday saying that, according to its legal team, Ducey doesn’t have authority to prevent the enactment of “reasonable public health measures.” The county intends to continue to enforce its mask mandate.

“We believe we are on solid ground,” said Dr. Francisco Garcia, Pima County’s chief medical officer. “Do we believe we are going to be challenged on this? Absolutely. Bring it on.”

Ducey never officially ordered a statewide mask requirement. In June 2020, he gave local jurisdictions authority over the mask mandate issue.

“Our opinion is that this continues to be the law of the land … both in incorporated and unincorporated Pima County,” Garcia said in a livestream.

Pima County isn’t alone in pushing back against Ducey’s actions.

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero said Thursday her city’s mask mandate will continue.

On Friday, the Flagstaff City Council said there is no plan to rescind the city’s proclamation requiring face coverings.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego also recently announced her displeasure with Ducey’s action saying that the science contradicts Ducey’s decision.

“The horrible surge last June was only curbed by masking — when the governor finally allowed cities to do it,” Gallego said in a series of tweets Thursday. “To abandon precautions now is like spiking the ball on the 5-yard line.”

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