Across Phoenix, the signs are everywhere. "Mask Up!" While most people do, hundreds of people attended rallies last week challenging the validity of Arizona’s election count and only a handful wore masks.
Since the Phoenix mask order went into effect on June 20, the police department has handed out 427 friendly warnings to people who were violating the ordinance. There have been no fines issued. But as COVID-19 cases rise, and school districts are forced to return to distance learning, Arizona Education Association President Joe Thomas says Governor Ducey must act now.
“We need the Governor to tell everybody for a short period of time, until we get this under control, we’re going to have to wear masks in Arizona. It’s going to have to be a mandate.”
Thomas is not alone, in recent days Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego and Arizona Congressman Greg Stanton have both called on Governor Doug Ducey to issue a statewide mask mandate.
“There is no mask mandate in Mohave County. There is no mask mandate in any of the cities in Mohave county,” Chairwoman Jean Bishop of the Mohave County Board of Supervisors said earlier this week, when the supervisors voted to reduce the fine for violating the Governor’s executive orders from a maximum of $1,000 to just $50.
If the presidential election in Arizona was a referendum on President Trump’s response to the pandemic, nearly half the voters think he is doing a good job dealing with it. They don’t want the governor messing around with their lives.
“They’re already pretty upset with the governor’s executive order as they are,” says Supervisor Ron Gould. Gould was a longtime member of the Arizona Legislature. “So I would imagine if he actually institutes a statewide mask mandate that would really light them up.”
As it is, Gould says Mohave County Sheriff Doug Schuster is not enforcing the governor’s executive orders and he doubts he would start with a mask mandate.
“This guy didn’t sign up to limit people’s liberties,” Gould said.
While declining to interview with ABC15 Friday, Arizona’s Director of Health Services Dr. Cara Christ did do an interview with KTAR’s Mike Broomhead Show.
“There is a lot of things we are looking at. All options are on the table,” Christ said.
Dr. Christ told KTAR the state is looking at what it will do next to fight the spread of COVID-19. But she didn’t say what she or the governor will consider doing. Waiting perhaps for Governor Ducey to return to Arizona from an anniversary trip with his wife so he can announce the next move.