It’s unanimous: No mask mandates in Quad Cities, county
However, Prescott, Yavapai County leaders strongly encourage them
City of Prescott and Yavapai County leaders made it unanimous Thursday morning that governments in the Quad Cities and the county will not make wearing masks mandatory to fight the coronavirus.
However, they strongly encourage it.
On Wednesday, June 17, the mayors of Prescott Valley and Chino Valley issued the same message after Gov. Doug Ducey, in a press conference, said he will allow cities, towns and counties to make the decision concerning face coverings. Previously, only the governor held that power.
The change followed repeated statewide, single-day records of positive cases of COVID-19 being added to the tally the Arizona Department of Health Services records. On Thursday, the state added another 2,519 confirmed cases for a total of 43,443.
Yavapai County’s numbers and infection rate are much lower, according to the Yavapai County Community Health Services. The county is at 409 positive cases as of Thursday morning with a positive-test rate of 1.8% (173.0 per 100,000 population), compared to a statewide rate of 7.5% (604.3 per 100,000 population).
Prescott Mayor Greg Mengarelli said in a video message Thursday, “As we see case counts increasing in Arizona, our work is not done. Now more than ever we need each of you to continue to practice all of the safety measures set forth by the Centers for Disease Control.
“…For my part I am going to have a mask with me at all times. If I find myself in a situation where I can’t physically distance, I will wear it. I will wear my mask in stores and other places where I know I cannot physically distance.”
For the county, Board of Supervisors Chairman Craig Brown said, “We must continue to monitor positive test results as well as hospital and respirator availability. We are not going to mandate mask-wearing, but we strongly encourage everyone to wear a mask when in public and in enclosed areas.”
On Thursday, Brown, Vice Chairman Randy Garrison, Community Health Services Director Leslie Horton, and Sheriff Scott Mascher discussed what Yavapai County needs to do in order to maintain its currently low percentage of positive COVID-19 test results, according to a news release.
“People need to understand why we wear masks,” Horton said. “It is not just to protect ourselves but those around us. With such a small percentage of those testing positive having any symptoms at all, there is a good chance someone in your family could be sick and not know it. The only way we are going to keep our positive COVID-19 test results down is to follow the guidelines we have laid out.”
Those guidelines from the state and local governments include:
• Wash your hands often - Wash for at least 20 seconds with soap and warm water;
• Avoid close contact – physically distance yourself 6 feet or more from others while in public;
• Where physical distancing is not possible, wear a mask;
• Cover your mouth and nose with a cloth face cover when around others;
• Cover coughs and sneezes;
• Clean and disinfect; and,
• Monitor your health.
“We know no one likes wearing a mask, however social distancing and masks are a necessary sacrifice we need to be willing to make for the health of those most vulnerable, and those with underlying health risks, in our county,” Brown said. “We all have a personal responsibility to protect those around us. Wearing a mask is a small sacrifice we are willing to make for those we care about.”
During the governor’s press conference, Ducey noted that Yavapai County and the Prescott area are performing the best in the state, in terms of percentage of positive cases. To continue that trend, Yavapai County Community Health Services is highly recommending use of masks in public, and Mengarelli is strongly urging “citizens to follow the protocols set forth by the county, and the Arizona Department of Health Services.”
He added that “as of right now, all Fourth of July festivities will continue as planned. We will continue to monitor the case counts and other metrics daily. Be assured that we will evaluate these events, and make decisions in the best interest of public safety. We all want to consider the overall health and vibrancy of our community. Thank you for all you are doing to help us keep Prescott safe.”
That declaration, regarding Fourth of July, follows news Wednesday that Chino Valley has postponed its celebrations and Prescott Valley is not canceling.
The governor’s latest order establishes additional requirements and awareness efforts. Visit the following link for details: https://azgovernor.gov/governor/news/2020/06/governor-ducey-announces-enhanced-covid-19-action-plan.
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