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Following federal guidelines, Valley cities begin lifting mask mandates

(AP Photo/LM Otero)

PHOENIX – Officials in Valley cities are lifting mask requirements in accordance with new federal COVID-19 guidelines.

Chandler Mayor Kevin Hartke said effective Friday he was rescinding the declaration of emergency that went into effect March 19, 2020. The proclamation included a mask-wearing policy.

Scottsdale Mayor David Ortega’s office said Thursday his emergency proclamation that went into effect Jan. 13 was being shelved immediately in city buildings and facilities.

The Pima County Board of Supervisors voted Friday to repeal a resolution mandating mask-wearing.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention eased mask-wearing guidance for fully vaccinated people Thursday, allowing them to stop wearing masks outdoors in crowds and in most indoor settings.

The guidance still calls for wearing masks in crowded indoor settings such as 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 social distancing for those who are fully vaccinated.

“The CDC’s latest guidance is another signpost on the road back to normal, and it will be a relief to many. But we still have to be smart, and cautious, because COVID is not gone – we cannot declare ‘all clear’ yet,” Ortega said in a press release.

The city still encourages people to cover their noses and mouths “when interacting with others.”

Hartke pointed to falling coronavirus numbers and vaccine availability in revoking the emergency order.

“I encourage you to continue following CDC guidelines, and please remember and respect that businesses are able to set their own COVID-19 policies,” he said in a press release Thursday.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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