Walmart requires patrons to wear face coverings while shopping

Raymundo Frasquillo File Photo/Gila Herald: A young girl secures her mask with loops over her ears. Several Gila Valley stores are now requiring patrons to wear face coverings while shopping.

By Jon Johnson

SAFFORD – With the number of COVID-19 positive tests increasing dramatically in Graham County, numerous stores have now required patrons to wear face coverings while shopping or entering the private facilities.

While the Graham County Board of Supervisors and Safford City Council have yet to issue a mask mandate, both governmental groups have encouraged patrons to follow the requests of individual stores and restaurants who do require the wearing of masks by patrons.

Recently, the area’s largest retailer, Walmart, has advised its customers that face coverings must be worn not only by all its employees but all patrons as well. Exceptions include those who have health conditions that preclude them from being able to wear a mask, infants, and young children.

As of Friday night, Graham County was reporting 201 cases, with 148 active, and Greenlee County 32 total cases, with 19 active.

Previously, Clifton Mayor Luis M. Montoya signed an emergency proclamation mandating anyone over the age of 5 wear a face-covering while in a public setting. The Clifton mandate went into effect June 26.

Greenlee County soon followed suit and the Greenlee County Board of Supervisors passed a resolution that requires anyone who enters a public place to wear a protective face mask. The measure passed 2-1 at the board’s June 30 meeting and went into effect July 1.