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Tumamoc Hill could close if goers don't mask up

Posted at 7:08 PM, Nov 20, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-21 14:18:53-05

TUCSON, Ariz. -- Tumamoc Hill could shut down again, if goers don’t mask up while hiking.

With COVID-19 cases going up in Arizona, officials say it’s more important than ever to wear masks. If not, there will be consequences.

“We need to wear masks now. We have to start getting our act together,” Director of Tumamoc Hill Ben Wilder told KGUN9.

He says, the time to act is now.

“If we don’t adjust our behavior this is going to get out of control. And it may be in a position where we don’t even have a choice, but we have to close the hill,” he added.

Wilder says the percentage of people wearing masks in the evenings is too low.

“Morning percentage is...could definitely be high but it’s about 60% which is better than 30% which is what it is in the evenings,” he said.

According to Wilder, at least 1,000 people walk on Tumamoc Hill every day.

“There are multiple times where you are walking up and down the hill and you are in the slipstream with someone walking ahead of you, and I just think we can’t take each others' safety and health for granted,” he told KGUN9.

University of Arizona officials made a similar push in July, monitoring mask use during a 14 day trial period.

The response was overwhelmingly positive.

“Within those two weeks both percentages got 70% and above,” he added.

So the hill stayed open. Now, they're hoping this campaign does the same. Though Wilder says the window for potentially closing down the hill is unclear and will depend on the amount of COVID cases in the region.

“We’re not clear if that's a seven day window, a 10 day window, a 14 day...a 20 day window. It’s a little unprecedented where we’re at right now, so I’m not going to put a date range on it,” Wilder told KGUN9.

Here’s Wilder’s message to hikers as COVID-19 cases continue going up in Arizona.

“Wear a mask. Enjoy being outside. Take care of each other, and keep Tumamoc open,” he stated.