Move follows letter from South County mayors
UPDATED: 6:42 p.m.
PHOENIX, Ariz. (KYMA, KECY) - Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced Wednesday afternoon he will give the state's cities and counties the power to enact measures that will make masks and face masks mandatory within their individual jurisdictions.
Watch Governor Ducey's entire press conference here:
Ducey says he made the decision to grant them the power to enact such rules after receiving numerous requests from leaders in parts of the state hit hardest by the coronavirus, including Yuma County.
Community leaders from Yuma and Santa Cruz county recently wrote a letter to Governor Ducey asking him for the power to make masks mandatory. San Luis Mayor Gerardo Sanchez, Somerton Mayor Gerardo Anaya, and Yuma County Board of Supervisors chairman Tony Reyes all joined Santa Cruz County leaders in signing off on the letter.
Yuma Mayor Douglas Nicholls did not sign off on the letter, nor has he commented on the governor's decision. However, Mayor Anaya posted his gratitude on Facebook:
Governor Ducey has been under intense pressure to take action in the face of the ongoing surge in coronavirus cases. In addition to the mayors' letter, he received a letter from an alliance of hundreds of state medical professionals urging him to require masks in public places. The state's largest newspaper, The Arizona Republic, also raised alarms and urged Ducey to take action.
Senator Kyrsten Sinema (D-AZ) applauded not only the governor's actions, but those of the mayors who pushed for this change.
Sen. Sinema also urged Arizonans to stay home as much as possible, to practice social distancing, and of course, to wear a mask or face covering anytime they're out in public.
Arizona as seen a steady surge of new coronavirus cases since Memorial Day. On Wednesday alone, the state added more than 5,000 cases. Yuma County saw a 170 case spike.
More than 40,000 people statewide are now infected with the illness. The virus is blamed for more than 1,000 deaths.