Phoenix Mayor Gallego expects masks to be part of daily lives for long haul

Jun 12, 2020, 2:07 PM | Updated: 2:19 pm
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)...
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)
(AP Photo/Ashley Landis)

PHOENIX — Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego told CNN Thursday she expects masks to be a vital accessory for the long haul as Arizona grapples with a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations.

State and local leaders this week have pushed the recommendation that residents wear cloth face masks when they can’t socially distance in public areas in order to slow the spread of the virus.

City of Phoenix and Maricopa County employees are now required to wear face masks while at work. ASU on Friday made face coverings mandatory effective immediately.

“I understand that people are eager to go back to normal, but my message is we still have to fight this virus,” Gallego said in an interview. “Masks are going to be a part of our lives for a long time.”

Calls to wear masks in public settings came during a week of increased national attention about how Arizona is handling the pandemic.

Case totals in Maricopa County have risen by more than 25% in the past week.

The state’s health department on Saturday sent a letter to hospitals that recommended they “fully activate” their emergency plans — roughly three weeks after the statewide stay-at-home order expired.

Gov. Doug Ducey and Dr. Cara Christ, the state’s public health director, on Thursday for the first time pushed Arizona residents to wear masks in public.

The duo did so while not wearing masks themselves, although Ducey flashed a mask of his own and said he wears it when he can’t socially distance in public.

Multiple instances from Ducey’s own Twitter account from the past week appear to show him not abiding by his own words.

Maricopa County health officials, who were masked, on Wednesday called on metro Phoenix residents to wear face coverings.

“We were one of the last states to go to a stay-at-home order and one of the first to come out,” Gallego said. “I’m concerned people are getting mixed messages about how serious this is.”

Gallego added that she has witnessed a good number of people not wearing masks in public settings, including at grocery stores.

Christ has said previously she was impressed by how many people were wearing masks during her experiences in public.

The Arizona health department reported a record high of 1,654 new coronavirus cases plus 17 additional deaths Friday morning.

That increased the state’s documented totals to 32,918 cases and 1,144 deaths.

“When I talk to public health professionals and our doctors and nurses, they tell me they are deeply concerned,” Gallego said. “They are worried that the public thinks COVID-19 is something we have defeated.”

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Pass it along to the KTAR News team here.

Arizona News

(Flickr/Martin Ely)...

Tempe asks Arizona Supreme Court to review South Pier development case

Tempe has asked the Arizona Supreme Court to review a recent appeals court decision concerning a proposed development at Tempe Town Lake.
19 hours ago
A man works at an avocado orchard in Santa Ana Zirosto, Michoacan state, Mexico, Thursday, Jan. 26,...
Associated Press

Route to Super Bowl dangerous for Mexico’s avocado haulers

SANTA ANA ZIROSTO, Mexico (AP) — It is a long and sometimes dangerous journey for truckers transporting the avocados destined for guacamole on tables and tailgates in the United States during the Super Bowl. It starts in villages like Santa Ana Zirosto, high in the misty, pine-clad mountains of the western Mexico state of Michoacan. […]
19 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/Phoenix Police Department)...

Drive-by shooting injures 2, strikes multiple businesses in Phoenix

A drive-by shooting in midtown Phoenix resulted in injuries to a teenage boy and a young girl Friday evening, authorities said.
19 hours ago
Jane Garcia / Scottsdale Police Department photo....

Authorities cancel Silver Alert issued for woman last seen driving in Scottsdale

Authorities in Scottsdale issued a Silver Alert on Saturday morning for a missing woman last seen driving on Friday night.
19 hours ago
(Elite Civil Construction Photo)...
Ron Davis/Phoenix Business Journal

Phoenix construction firm lands job preparing State Farm Stadium for Super Bowl LVII

A fast-growing Phoenix construction company said working on preparing State Farm Stadium for Super Bowl LVII is paying early dividends.
19 hours ago
(Consumption Park screenshot)...
Wills Rice

Mint to host 3-day cannabis party near State Farm Stadium for Super Bowl

Mint Cannabis will be holding a "Big Game" party with a three-day festival near State Farm Stadium in Glendale during Super Bowl weekend.
19 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

Quantum Fiber

How high-speed fiber internet edges out cable for everyday use

In a world where technology drives so much of our daily lives, a lack of high-speed internet can be a major issue.
(Desert Institute for Spine Care photo)...

Why DISC is world renowned for back and neck pain treatments

Fifty percent of Americans and 90% of people at least 50 years old have some level of degenerative disc disease.
(Photo via MLB's Arizona Fall League / Twitter)...
Arizona Fall League

Top prospects to watch at this year’s Arizona Fall League

One of the most exciting elements of the MLB offseason is the Arizona Fall League, which began its 30th season Monday.
Phoenix Mayor Gallego expects masks to be part of daily lives for long haul