TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN) — As we get ready to go into the new year, the Pima County mandates and restrictions to curb the spread of COVID-19 will stick around and so will the consequences.
Folks at the Pima County Health Department say their goal is to get everyone to comply through education, but if they don’t they could be fined, or even arrested.
Loni Anderson is the Division Manager for Consumer Health and Food Safety with the Pima County Health Department.
She says complaints have been coming in at a steady rate after the department enacted the mask mandate and curfew.
“We do address all complaints. When we get the complaint, our approach is obviously to educate these businesses, especially with the new curfew. They’re going to get a call from us, they’re going to get an email,” she told KGUN9.
Though, if businesses fail to send folks home and switch to carry-out or to-go options when the clock strikes 10 p.m.
“That would be a violation of the curfew resolution. There’s a possibility of their permit being suspended or in addition having it revoked if there is continued noncompliance,” she added.
Anderson says failure to follow, and enforce, mask use inside an establishment could amount to a $500.00 fine or, as Pima County Sheriff-Elect Chris Nanos points out, it could lead to an arrest.
He says if a business owner asks a patron to put a mask on or leave, and the patron refuses:
“Then, of course, they could be arrested for criminal trespass. Here in Pima County, people have gotten into fists and cuffs over this,” he told KGUN9.
If a situation escalates to disorderly conduct over leaving an establishment or putting a mask on inside an establishment:
“We’re going to arrest for assault or any other violations,” said Sheriff-Elect Nanos.
However, the Sheriff-Elect says the department prefers not to do that.
“We have plenty to do than to be the mask police,” he added.
So he asks everyone to do their part, and if need be, report a violation to the Pima County Health Department.
For more information on how to do that, click here.