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Pima County mask mandate will be allowed to expire February 28th

Posted at 5:59 PM, Feb 15, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-15 19:59:28-05

TUCSON, Ariz. (KGUN9) — Pima County will allow its mask mandate to expire on Feb. 28 despite the chief medical officer recommending it be extended a month.

“Some places absolutely require it, others don’t, I'm all for protecting the general public, but I think each individual needs to do what's right for themselves,” said Tucson Resident Connie Gibbons.

Some people argue cloth masks do not work, pointing to new CDC recommendations to wear N-95 masks. Others think it is one of our best tools to fight the virus that causes COVID-19.

“They not only protect the user, but they protect society in general. That is the only way to get on top of this thing I think,” said resident Mike Falter.

Pima County supervisors issued their second mask mandate last December in response to the omicron surge.

The county’s chief medical officer says the surge seems to be receding, but case counts are still high.

Nevertheless, Supervisors Christy, Scott and Bronson voted not to extend the mandate.

“It’s painfully obvious that this mask mandate needs to be allowed to expire,” said Supervisor Steve Christy.

“We are not enforcing this mandate,” said Supervisor Rex Scott. “Calling it a mandate is confusing and misleading as a result and this fact makes Pima County look like a paper tiger.”

The Pima County Sheriff’s Department confirms zero citations have been written to enforce the mandate. Officials say the mask mandate expires on Feb. 28, county buildings will still require masks, and schools will continue to make their own decisions about mask requirements.

“That’s a tough one, that's a tough one with schools, because you have such a germy population,” said Gibbons.

While Pima County’s mask mandate will be allowed to expire, it does not appear the discussion around masks will be ending anytime soon.