TUCSON, Ariz. — Mayor Regina Romero signed a proclamation requiring the use of face coverings in Tucson Thursday.
The proclamation is the conclusion of Romero's campaign to require masks in the city. She publicly asked Gov. Doug Ducey to allow her to make the move, and the governor announced Wednesday that he would give local governments the authority to make and enforce their own mask policies.
Romero amended her emergency proclamation to require those age 2 and up to wear masks in public wherever continuous physical distancing is difficult or impossible.
Under the proclamation, businesses with employees in contact with the public are also required to wear masks.
The requirement goes into effect at 6 a.m. Saturday. The City Council will meet at 5 p.m. Friday to discuss the issue.
"Public health experts are telling us that one of the most effective ways we can slow the spread and protect public health is by wearing a mask,” Romero said in a statement. “I am asking all Tucsonans to do their part and please wear a mask - not just for your own health, but for the health of your family, friends, and neighbors.”
The coverings must be made of a soft or permeable material that covers the mouth, nose and surrounding areas of the face.
Those exempt from wearing a mask include those in a personal office or similar space without others present, those who aren't advised to wear masks under CDC guidelines, those with a medical, mental health condition or developmental disability preventing them from wearing a mask, restaurant patrons who are eating or drinking at a table or emergency and first responder workers.
Mask-wearing will also not be required while receiving medical or dental treatment, while swimming or exercising outdoors with people in the same household.
Enforcement of the edict will focus on education rather than punishment. Citations will be given when those violating the order demonstrate an intentional disregard and refusal to comply with the requirements.
City facilities will remain closed until Aug. 3.