Raymundo Frasquillo File Photo/Gila Herald: Masks will be required while in public places in Clifton, beginning Friday at 5 p.m.
Greenlee County BOS to consider following suit
By Jon Johnson
CLIFTON – An emergency proclamation from Clifton Mayor Luis M. Montoya mandating anyone over the age of 5 wear a face covering while in a public setting will go into effect Friday, June 26, at 5 p.m. The Greenlee County Board of Supervisors is scheduled to discuss the topic Thursday.
The proclamation was signed by Montoya on Wednesday in response to Greenlee County’s recent uptake in positive cases from just six total cases as of May 31 to 16 as of June 24. The mandate is in effect until the proclamation is rescinded, terminated, or modified.
Even with the recent surge, Greenlee County has the lowest amount of positive COVID-19 tests out of all of Arizona’s counties and the lowest rate of transmission. As of Wednesday night, the Greenlee County Health Department has recorded 17 positive cases but advised that it was investigating multiple others who worked in Greenlee County but would not show up on its total because they live in another county.
The health department lists nine currently active cases, with seven recovered and one death and 36 tests pending.
On Tuesday, Montoya advised of his decision to implement the mask mandate.
“After today’s work session and guidance provided by the town council, I have decided that our town’s responsibility to its residents can best be met by the issuance of a proclamation mandating ‘face-covering’ masks by everyone while in public places and in locations where social distancing is not possible,” Montoya said.
Several cities in Maricopa County, including Phoenix, Scottsdale, and Tempe, and the county itself, have mandated the wearing of masks in public. Proclamations have also been made outside of Maricopa County in municipalities such as Casa Grande, Tucson, Flagstaff, Payson, and Santa Cruz and Yuma counties. In some areas, enforcement of the proclamations is mostly educational but refusing to wear a mask could result in a fine of up to $50. Clifton’s proclamation states that “a person or business shall be notified of the provisions of this proclamation and will be provided an opportunity to explain an exception or follow the guidelines, prior to the issuance of any citation or other enforcement action.”
There is no fine defined in Clifton’s proclamation for defying the order and said enforcement will first focus on educating and working to promote the mitigation of the spread of COVID-19.
Exceptions to the order include any child under the age of 5, any person who cannot wear a mask due to a medical condition, when a person is obtaining services at a business and is engaged in eating, drinking, or sleeping or in a sleeping area.
The proclamation also advises that face coverings are not a replacement for adhering to physical distancing and hygiene protocols and encourages businesses – including those providing essential functions – to allow their employees to work from home as possible.
Graham County and the city of Safford recommend the wearing of face masks in public but do not require it.