Arizona Mayors put pressure on Governor over masks

They’re asking for a statewide mask mandate

Romero calls for mandates

TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - As Arizona reached a near record day of new coronavirus cases, 4,471 on November 20, 2020- the mayors of four cities held a Zoom press conference demanding Arizona Governor Doug Ducey impose a statewide mask mandate.

It’s something Governor Ducey has refused to do, although in June he gave cities and towns the ability to impose mask mandates as they saw fit. The Governor has repeatedly said 90% of the state is under a mandate but says ultimately it’s a personal responsibility.

The mayors said part of the problem is too many people don’t take the personal responsibility seriously enough.

“There is a fatigue going on in this state, in this nation,” said Coral Evans, Mayor of Flagstaff.

“Governor Ducey said Wednesday during his press conference that quote ‘we need more than just messaging’,” said Tucson Mayor Regina Romero. “I completely agree.”

The Mayor’s say they’re following CDC guidelines which affirms the efficacy of masking, and they say recently it’s become more apparent that masks protect both the wearer and those around them.

“I join my fellow mayors in asking Governor Doug Ducey to implement a statewide mask requirement,” said Kate Gallego, the mayor of Phoenix.

The concern among some is enforcement of a mask mandate which has become a political hot potato.

Local police agencies have shied away from enforcing a mask mandate so it’s left up to the county health department which has the enforcement tools.

“It’s not just TPD, it’s all of us who are responsible to call the Pima County Health Department and talk about those businesses, bars, restaurants that are bad actors.” said Romero.

Pima County Health does have a web page where the public can report businesses which do not adhere to the mask policy.

But the concern is, without a statewide standard, things become muddled.

“If we had a statewide mandate, there wouldn’t be mixed messages, there would be a united front on how we’re tackling this issue,” said Tovar. “That’s what we’re asking for as mayors.”

The mayors are also asking for tighter travel restrictions, especially during the holidays.

They’re asking anyone who comes into the state to quarantine for 14 days, or present a negative test.

“All it takes is one person traveling to Tucson to visit family during the holidays to make a huge impact in terms of spread,” said Mayor Romero.

The Governor on Wednesday called for voluntary testing at airports. Tucson International Airport performed its first tests on 11/20/2020.

The Mayors are also complaining they have been left out of the process which means statewide strategy is not as cohesive as it should be.

Mayor Romero has not talked to the Governor since March. Mayor Gallego since June.

“This is not going to magically disappear,” said Mayor Tovar. “We do not need mixed messages, we need a united voice.”

We reached out for a response from the Governor’s office and this is the response.

“Today’s press conference from the mayors could be summed up as, “do what I say, not what I do.” The mayors want to see more mandates, while admitting they have no interest in enforcing their own, and for good reason.

As the governor has said consistently, our focus should be on compliance, including education and encouraging personal responsibility. It was good to see the mayors repeat the same thing when finally questioned about why they aren’t enforcing their own mandates.”

Copyright 2020 KOLD News 13. All rights reserved.