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Mayor Romero issues mandate for masks in Tucson as COVID-19 cases continue to rise

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TUCSON (KVOA) - Mayor Regina Romero signed an emergency proclamation to require the use of face masks and covering in Tucson on Thursday as COVID-19 cases continue to rise in Arizona.

Romero made this action after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey said Wednesday that local governments may craft their own policies regarding wearing face coverings in public.

RELATED: Use of Cloth Face Coverings to Help Slow the Spread of COVID-19

Under this proclamation, every person who is 2 years old or older is required to wear a mask when in public and whenever possible starting at 6 a.m. Saturday.

This includes employees of businesses that are regularly in contact with the public.

“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,” said Mayor Romero. “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.”

Face coverings were defined as as a item of clothing made of soft or permeable material that covers the mouth, nose and the surrounding areas of the face.

Exceptions to the mandate are listed below.

  • When a person is in a personal office or similar space (a single room) where others are not present as long as the public does not regularly visit the room. 
  • For any person who falls under CDC guidance for those who should not wear a face covering, including but not limited to any child under the age of two (2). 
  • For any person who cannot wear a Face Covering because of a medical condition, mental health condition or developmental disability, or who is unable to remove the Face Covering without assistance. A person who cannot wear a Face Covering because of a medical condition is not required to produce medical documentation of the condition, provided that an employer may require such documentation from an employee in accordance with state and federal law. 
  • For restaurant patrons while they are eating or drinking at their table or seating area. 
  • For public safety employees and/or emergency responders, when wearing the Face Covering would interfere with or limit their ability to carry out their duties or functions; and for any person acting at the direction of a public safety employee. 
  • In settings where it is not practicable or feasible to wear a Face Covering, such as when receiving dental services, medical treatments or while swimming. 
  • For persons exercising outdoors, or while walking or exercising with other persons of the same household, as long as Physical Distancing from others is maintained. 

According to Romero, enforcement of this mandate will "focus on educating and working to promote the mitigation of the spread of COVID-19." Through this, the city will reportedly will provide information about the deadly virus to violators.

For individuals who display "intentional disregard for and refusal to comply" to the mandate will receive a citation. A citation could come with a $50 fine and five hours of community service, according to Romero.

Tucson City Council will discuss the issue during a meeting scheduled for 5 p.m.

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