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Mayor Romero urges city council to end mask mandate amid new CDC guidelines

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TUCSON (KVOA) - City of Tucson Mayor Regina Romero is urging Tucson City Council to lift the city's mask mandate after Pima County Board of Supervisor's rescinded its own Friday afternoon.

On Thursday, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released new guidance on mask use, giving fully vaccinated people the OK to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings. Under the CDC's new guidance, fully vaccinated individuals would only be required to wear masks when on "planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling."

In response, Pima County Board of Supervisors approved a resolution 4-1 Friday that rescinded its countywide mask mandate and approved its recommendations for when individuals should wear a mask, such as when not fully vaccinated, when using public transportation or at "health care settings, schools, correctional facilities, shelters, congregate facilities and any other setting where it is required by local, state or federal law."

Shortly after the vote was made, Romero took to Twitter to release a statement about the updated CDC guidelines for masks.

In her statement, the mayor shared that she would be asking the city council "to consider ending (the city's) local mask-wearing requirement while strongly recommending that Tucsonans follow CDC guidelines."

Romero also thanked the community for the efforts and sacrifices made to help keep Tucson safe and healthy during the fight against COVID-19.

"It is because we masked up and followed the advice of our public health experts that we are in a position where cases are low and we can take additional steps to fully return back to normal," Romero said. "Unlike our state leaders, here in Tucson, we have listened to our public health experts and followed the science since the beginning of this pandemic."

The mayor also urged all Tucsonans to get their vaccination shot as soon as possible.

"We must continue to stay vigilant, and I strongly encourage all Tucsonans who have not been vaccinated to get their shots as soon as possible," Romero said. "I also strongly encourage all Tucsonans to continue following CDC guidelines, including mask-wearing when recommended for both unvaccinated and vaccinated individuals."

Romero is expected to make this recommendation to the council during Tuesday's scheduled meeting.

Prior to Friday's statement, Tucson's mayor pushed to continue Tucson's mask mandate that was implemented in June.

Romero previously stated that she would continue to enforce the city's mask mandate despite Gov. Doug Ducey issuing an executive order March 25 that would phase out all mask mandates implemented by local governments.

Ducey then signed  House Bill 2770 into law April 9, which would not require businesses in Arizona to enforce a mask mandate, which will go into effect three weeks after the 2021 legislation ends.

As of Friday, 2,572,917 people in Arizona are fully vaccinated. Officials say 3,098,785 Arizonans have received at last one dose of the vaccine.

Arizona Department of Health Services said 43.1 percent of people are vaccinated at this time.

In Pima County, 40.1 percent of its population is vaccinated. This equates to 419,392 people receiving at least one dose and 356,837 fully vaccinated Pima County residents.

Arizona saw 854 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, bringing the overall number of positive cases to 972,022. Nine deaths were also reported Friday, bringing the state's COVID-19 death toll to 17,447.

Pima County only reported one new positive case. It currently has a total case county of 115,906 and 2,407 deaths.

To register for a vaccine appointment, visit podvaccine.azdhs.gov or azhealth.gov/findvaccine, or call 1-844-542-8201.

For more information, visit azdhs.gov.

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Anthony Victor Reyes

Anthony Victor Reyes is the lead digital content producer at News 4 Tucson. The award-winning journalist previously worked as a community reporter in Jasper County, Iowa.

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