Maricopa County Adopts Baseline Mask Requirement
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors unanimously adopted a countywide mask requirement.
The 5-0 vote occurred late Friday after more than four hours of closed door meetings by the board, who consulted with attorneys to devise a plan that provides a baseline mask policy for all incorporated and unincorporated parts of Maricopa County.
Anyone over the age of 6 must wear a mask when in public spaces if they can’t maintain a safe 6 feet of distance from others. And adults with children ages 2 to 5 must make a “reasonable effort” to have those children wear masks, too.
The policy also applies to anyone riding or operating public transit, and staff at restaurants and stores.
The requirement doesn’t supersede stricter requirements that may have been adopted by cities or towns within Maricopa County. But it also ensures that masks will be required in jurisdictions within the county’s borders that didn’t adopt their own policy.
Maricopa County Health Director Marcy Flanagan said the lives of Maricopa County residents are at stake.
“When everybody is not in this together and protecting our community as a whole, the spread is going to continue,” she told the board.
The policy includes exemptions for people while they’re eating or drinking, and for people walking or exercising at social distances while outdoors.
Board Chairman Clint Hickman said he’d prefer if people voluntarily wore masks. But he likened the mask requirement to the state laws requiring drivers and passengers in automobiles wearing seatbelts.
What once seemed controversial is now accepted, Hickman said, and it saves lives.
“We know thousands of people move through different cities and towns in Maricopa County every day,” Hickman said in a statement. “The regulations are based on the recommendations of our Public Health Department and they give residents an understanding of the rules no matter where they are within the County.”