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Pima County drops mask mandate, Tucson mayor asks council to take on city mandate in next meeting

Published: May. 14, 2021 at 4:04 PM MST|Updated: May. 14, 2021 at 6:17 PM MST
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TUCSON, Ariz. (KOLD News 13) - One day after the CDC eased its mask guidelines, the Pima County Board of Supervisors followed suit.

On Thursday, the CDC announced fully vaccinated people could stop wearing masks in most outdoor and indoor settings.

The Board voted 4-1 during a special meeting Friday, May 14, to bring the county in line with the federal guidance, with

Tucson Mayor Regina Romero has already said the city would update its policies to match the CDC. When that will happen remains to be seen, but the city council has a study session and regular meeting on Tuesday, May 18, where it will discuss the future of the city-wide mandate.

“With the release of updated CDC guidelines, and no way of distinguishing between vaccinated and unvaccinated individuals, I will be asking my colleagues on the Council to consider ending our local mask-wearing requirement at our meeting on Tuesday while continuing to strongly recommend that Tucsonans follow CDC guidelines, including mask-wearing when appropriate,” Romero said in a statement after the board’s vote.

The statement further read “In the meantime, Mayor and Council gave direction to the City Attorney and City Manager to interpret, administer, and enforce the city’s mask ordinance in a manner consistent with evolving CDC guidelines at their meeting on May 4. This will continue to be the case with the updated CDC guidelines (and any other future updates that may occur) allowing fully vaccinated individuals to not wear a mask, with some exceptions.

Under Mayor Romero’s proposal and consistent with CDC guidelines and actions taken by the Pima County Board of Supervisors, the following would remain in place if approved by Mayor & Council on Tuesday:

  • All individuals at all times are strongly urged to follow CDC guidelines and Pima County Health Department advisories
  • Masks will be required in all public transit (SunTran, SunVan, and SunLink)
  • Local businesses and establishments could still set their own stricter standards for masking and social distancing as a condition of entering or remaining in the establishment.”

The county said more than half of eligible Pima County residents “have gotten at least one dose of a COVID-19 vaccine and more than 350,000 are fully vaccinated.”

In December 2020, Pima County adopted Board Resolution 2020-96. It required everyone to wear a face-covering when physical distancing could not be maintained.

The CDC guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings like buses, planes, hospitals, prisons and homeless shelters, but it will help clear the way for reopening workplaces, schools and other venues — even removing the need for distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.

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