Mandatory face covering is set to become a requirement in areas of Flagstaff where “social distancing is not possible,” according to an Emergency Proclamation issued by Mayor Coral Evans. The new policy will go into effect June 20 at 8 p.m. and continue until further notice or until repealed or revised.
Evans updated a prior Emergency Proclamation issued March 16 regarding COVID-19 to include the new policy. Those found in violation of the proclamation will be given the "opportunity to comply," prior to enforcement action being taken which may result in a misdemeanor.
The updated proclamation follows a press conference held by Gov. Doug Ducey the day prior, where the governor said mayors around Arizona are allowed to require face masks within public jurisdictions.
A face covering is considered “cloth, fabric or other soft or permeable material” designed to cover the nose, mouth and surrounding areas of the lower face, according to the proclamation. Also included in the proclamation is a video released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention covering how to wear, make and clean face masks.
“Examples of face coverings include a scarf; a bandana; a neck gaiter; a homemade covering made from a t-shirt, sweatshirt towel or fabric held on with rubber bands or otherwise or a face mask, which need not be medical grade,” the proclamation states.
The proclamation defines public spaces as “any place the public is allowed” including businesses and outdoor spaces. Examples listed include bars, coffee shops, libraries, recreation facilities, entertainment video among many other examples.
Children under the age of five are not required by the proclamation to abide by the face covering guidelines enacted by the proclamation. Additionally, the proclamation lists several exceptions to the rule, such as medical and mental health conditions – which will not require proof of medical directive, religious beliefs preventing face covering, situations where face covering is exempted under law and settings where wearing face coverings are not feasible, such as receiving or rendering medical aid or while eating.
Furthermore, a person will not be required to wear a mask when “able to maintain adequate social distancing,” which the proclamation defines as maintaining six feet of distance between individuals who are not living in the same household.
Businesses are asked to enforce the face covering policies, according to a post on the City of Flagstaff's Facebook page.
"Private businesses and venues shall enforce this proclamation by asking any person failing to comply with the emergency proclamation to leave their premises," the post states. "Business owners are not liable for members of the public who are in violation of this proclamation and refuse to leave their establishment when asked."
"In terms of a per capita basis, on a 7-day average, Arizona has 212 cases per million population and Arizona ranks number one,” Harvard epidemiologist Dr. Eric Feigl-Ding said in a Tweet Tuesday night.