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Phoenix City Council to vote on easing mask mandate Wednesday

(AP Photo)

PHOENIX – As more Arizona cities loosen COVID-19 face mask requirements, the Phoenix City Council plans to vote on following the new federal guidelines at the formal meeting Wednesday.

The publicly posted agenda showed an add-on item on page 397 entered Monday that reads:

“The City will follow CDC guidance, and therefore amends the Declaration of the Phoenix City Council Regarding Face Coverings, effective on June 19, 2020, to comply with the May 16, 2021 CDC guidance for people who are fully vaccinated. The City’s Declaration regarding the wearing of face coverings shall hereafter automatically be adjusted in accordance with current CDC guidance, as it is issued, regarding the wearing of face coverings.”

The city said it will also follow federal guidelines at airports and on public transportation.

Businesses will be able to determine for themselves whether to continue requiring face masks.

“I am incredibly happy,” Councilman Sal DiCiccio told KTAR News 92.3 FM Monday night. “Finally, we’re going to be following the science everyone talks about.”

He referred to the city’s mask policy as “Draconian” and “confusing.”

The meeting is scheduled for 2:30 p.m.

City officials had announced on its website Monday that “The mask mandate within the City of Phoenix will remain in place until such time as the Council votes to terminate or amend the declaration.​”

Valley cities Chandler and Scottsdale have already adjusted their mask requirements after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention updated its guidelines last week. Under the new recommendations, fully vaccinated people can stop wearing masks outdoors and in most indoor settings.

Tempe will roll back its mask order at city facilities beginning Friday and Mesa follows suit May 24.

Maricopa County announced Monday that effective immediately, people who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19 no longer needed to wear a mask in county government buildings. But the county asked that unvaccinated people continue to wear a mask in public.

KTAR News 92.3 FM’s Jeremy Foster and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

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