Maricopa County official says he’s rethinking face mask policy

Mar 23, 2021, 1:15 PM | Updated: 3:07 pm
face mask shopping...
(Pexels Photo)
(Pexels Photo)

PHOENIX – A member of the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors said he’s ready to rethink the county’s face mask mandate now that COVID-19 numbers have fallen.

“I have told many of my constituents over the past month that I believe and support it is time for a re-evaluation of this policy, and to allow mask-wearing to be voluntary not mandatory,” District 2 Supervisor Steve Chucri said in a newsletter Tuesday.

Chucri, who is also president and CEO of the Arizona Restaurant Association, revealed in the newsletter that he is one of the more than 800,000 people in the state who contracted COVID-19.

“This virus is very serious. I know firsthand because I was one of many Arizonans that had it,” he said.

“Thankfully now, our families, friends and neighbors are receiving vaccine from the state, the county and our partners at a steady pace.”

One of four Republicans on the five-member board, Chucri said the county’s average daily coronavirus case count is down to about 400, near what it was in May 2020 and just a fraction of the January surge above 6,000.

The Board of Supervisors unanimously voted to enact the mandate for metro Phoenix on June 19, 2020, two days after Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey gave local jurisdictions the authority to regulate face coverings in response to the coronavirus pandemic.

“If this policy is revisited in the future, many people can and will still choose to wear masks and businesses would continue to have the right to implement their own mask policies,” Chucri said. “Some did so even prior to this action last year.”

Maricopa County’s face mask regulations have been the minimum required in the Valley.

Under the county order, people older than 6 must wear masks that cover their mouth and nose in enclosed public spaces where 6 feet of distance cannot be maintained. Several exceptions exist, including for eating and drinking.

Some county cities, including Phoenix, have their own mask mandates that wouldn’t be impacted if Maricopa County lifts its requirement. Gilbert was among the suburbs that let its mask order expire, choosing to defer to county regulation of the matter.

A bill proposed in the Arizona Legislature would allow businesses to ignore mask mandates.

More than 130 physicians from across the state have signed a letter urging lawmakers to reject the GOP-backed bill, saying it would lead to another surge in COVID-19 cases and cause needless deaths.

Lifetime Windows & Doors

We want to hear from you.

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

Arizona News

FILE - Kari Lake, Arizona Republican candidate for governor, speaks to supporters at the Republican...
Associated Press

Lake seeks election records in suit against Arizona county

Kari Lake, the defeated Republican candidate for Arizona governor, has filed a public records lawsuit demanding Maricopa County hand over a variety of documents related to the election.
24 hours ago
Carey Johnson and her son Fabian Swain are photographed wearing face masks in their Germantown, Md....
Associated Press

After a year, omicron still driving COVID surges and worries

A year after omicron began its assault on humanity, the ever-morphing coronavirus mutant drove COVID-19 case counts higher in many places just as Americans gathered for Thanksgiving.
24 hours ago
(City of Mesa Photo)...

Merry Main Street with ice rink, other holiday activities returns to downtown Mesa

Mesa's annual Merry Main Street begins Friday and will offer multiple holiday activities for the whole family to enjoy each day through early January.
24 hours ago
Joaquin Santiago Orozco (Mesa Police Department Photo)...

Mesa police involved in shooting with man who allegedly rammed them with vehicle

Mesa police were involved in a shooting with a man late Thursday night who allegedly rammed them with a vehicle after failing to stop for a civil traffic offense, authorities said.
24 hours ago
Brian Hanrahan (Courtesy Photo)...

Silver Alert canceled after missing 78-year-old man found safe

A Silver Alert was canceled Friday after a missing 78-year-old man last seen in Phoenix was found safe, authorities said.
24 hours ago
(Facebook Photo/City of Mesa, Arizona Government, Pexels Photo)...

Weekend guide: Here are the biggest events around metro Phoenix for Nov. 25-27

The holiday season is officially underway and there are plenty of events around the Valley this weekend to get into the festive mood.
24 hours ago

Sponsored Articles

(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.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Here are 4 signs the HVAC unit needs to be replaced

Pool renovations and kitchen upgrades may seem enticing, but at the forefront of these investments arguably should be what residents use the most. In a state where summertime is sweltering, access to a functioning HVAC unit can be critical.
Day & Night Air Conditioning, Heating and Plumbing

Ways to prevent clogged drains and what to do if you’re too late

While there are a variety of ways to prevent clogged drains, it's equally as important to know what to do when you're already too late.
Maricopa County official says he’s rethinking face mask policy