Arizona Dems call for mask mandate, ‘more aggressive’ COVID-19 measures

Jul 17, 2020, 4:00 PM
Sen. Lela Alston, right, D-Phoenix, talks with Senate Minority Leader David Bradley, left, D-Tucson...

Sen. Lela Alston, right, D-Phoenix, talks with Senate Minority Leader David Bradley, left, D-Tucson, after the Arizona Senate voted to adjourn the legislative session Tuesday, May 26, 2020, in Phoenix. (AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

(AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin)

PHOENIX — Arizona Senate Democrats released a statement Thursday calling for a “more comprehensive approach” to the handling of the coronavirus, saying Gov. Doug Ducey has taken a “fragmented strategy.”

“This fragmented strategy has clear consequences — consequences that could have been avoided had we taken the pandemic seriously earlier,” the Senate Democrats said in a statement.

In the statement, they called for a statewide mask mandate, PPE for medical professionals and schools, and continued funding for free coronavirus funding and contact tracing.

A group of Arizona mayors also called for a statewide mask order.

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego, Tucson Mayor Regina Romero, Flagstaff Mayor Coral Evans and Tolleson Mayor Anna Tovar signed a letter Thursday asking Ducey to pass the mandate, saying “half measures will not do.”

“While many residents are taking the utmost precautions to wear face coverings in public, those who attend large public gatherings and holiday celebrations without masks are contributing to the increased COVID-19 spread,” the letter stated.

“Public health experts have warned us that the actions of a few bad actors can exacerbate the spread of COVID-19.”

Senate Democrats said aggressive preventative measures would help in the longterm.

“We are disappointed again that the governor refuses to take stronger actions to curb the spread of the deadly COVID-19 virus. More aggressive action is needed now to safely open schools in the future no matter what date is picked,” the statement said. “Senate Democrats again urge the governor to take swift and preventative action.”

The statement broadly addressed the plan to reopen schools, saying the Democrats “look forward to learning more” about the plan and and that a top priority must be “ensuring that our schools have the funding and PPE they need to keep our communities safe.”

The Senate Democrats commended Ducey for extending the eviction moratorium through October. It was initially set to expire Wednesday.

Renters will still be required to pay back everything they owe from the time they stopped being able to pay.

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Arizona Dems call for mask mandate, ‘more aggressive’ COVID-19 measures