TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As COVID-19 cases surge in Arizona, medical providers across the state signed a letter asking Gov. Doug Ducey to make mask wearing in public mandatory.
"The discussion of masks is very tricky and I understand that," said Dr. Ross Goldberg, President of the Arizona Medical Association. "It has unfortunately become much more political than I think it should be."
In the letter dated June 14, the healthcare professionals said the recent surge in cases can have, "grave consequences for our community," and are asking for a state-wide mandate that would require every person over 2 years old to wear a mask in public places including offices, stores, schools and the gym.
Dr. Randy Friese, District 9 House member and surgeon at Banner Health, said he would've gladly signed the letter and believes action needs to be taken.
"I think Governor Ducey should be doing something proactive to help stop the spread of the coronavirus in Arizona," Friese said.
Tucson Mayor Regina Romero is urging the governor to remove restrictions on local governments from taking their own public health measures and also wants masks to become a requirement.
"I believe that face masks should be mandatory in areas of the states with high community transmission where social distancing is not possible," Romero said.
With no comprehensive treatment or vaccine, Goldberg said prevention through social distancing and mask wearing is key.
"They really should be mindful of other people and it's really all hands on deck," Goldberg said. "We need to do something about mask use."
The letter requests restaurants and stores to require all employees and customers to wear masks.
"I think people need to understand just because the state has reopened does not mean the risk of infection is gone," Friese said.
The medical care professionals request for priority to be placed on obtaining and distributing adequate protective protection equipment to all frontline healthcare workers.
The letter states now is the time to do what is right for the greater good of our communities with understanding that, “adhering to these guidelines means changing life as we know it.”