Gov. Doug Ducey: 'Every Arizonan should wear a face mask;' gives local governments ability to implement face mask policies

Gov. Doug Ducey gave local governments the ability to implement and enforce face mask policies as they see fit during a press conference Wendesday, June 17. (Community Impact staff)
Gov. Doug Ducey gave local governments the ability to implement and enforce face mask policies as they see fit during a press conference Wendesday, June 17. (Community Impact staff)

Gov. Doug Ducey gave local governments the ability to implement and enforce face mask policies as they see fit during a press conference Wendesday, June 17. (Community Impact staff)

Gov. Doug Ducey gave local governments the ability to implement and enforce face mask policies as they see fit during a news conference Wendesday, June 17. The governor also urged all Arizonans to wear a mask when they leave their homes during the coronavirus pandemic.

"Every Arizonan should wear a face mask," Ducey said. "It's an issue of responsibility, and it is our responsibility to protect the most vulnerable," he said.

The governor entered the press conference Wednesday wearing a mask for the first time. Earlier in the day, Ducey tweeted an image of a mask urging residents to wear a mask and announced during the press conference that the state would move forward on the next iteration of a public awareness campaign focusing on the important of physical distancing, staying home when sick and wearing masks.

The governor also said the state was calling in the National Guard—specifically 300 guardsmen—to assist with contact tracing to work to contain the spread of the virus.

Ducey announced that additionally the state is updating guidance from health services for businesses to limit congregation of people to slow the spread. The enhanced guidance includes requiring physically distancing, face covers whenever possible, symptom checks for employees and increased cleaning and disinfecting. Ducey said "there will be enforcement" of this guidance, but did not specify what that enforcement may look like but did say it would be up to local governments. The state also updated its guidance for restaurants, including that restaurants maintain physical distancing of at least 6 feet in between tables, including limiting parties to no more than 10 and clearly mark tables and chairs that are not in use.


"We want to slow and contain the spread," Ducey said. "We have successfully slowed the spread of COVID-19 in the past; we are going to successfully slow COVID-19 again."

The town of Gilbert released a statement following the governor's press conference Wednesday.

"We are aware of Governor Ducey's new guidance to allow local governments to mandate face masks and we are working with Mayor Daniels and staff to determine the appropriate next steps for Gilbert," read the statement.

The city of Chandler sent an agenda for a Chandler City Council meeting June 18 for "discussion and action regarding directives for residents entering city facilities, relating to reducing

the spread of COVID-19 including wearing of face masks and social distancing." The meeting will begin at 4 p.m., according to the agenda.

The governor's news conference came one day after the state hit its highest day-over-day increase in coronavirus cases with more than 2,000 new cases reported June 16. June 17 saw an increase of 1,827 cases statewide, according to data from the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Ducey acknowledged Wednesday that the number of cases and the number of positive cases based on the number of tests is increasing.

"Increasing is the wrong direction," Ducey said. "We want lines that are headed in the downward trajectory ... The trend is headed in the wrong direction. The actions that we are going to take are intended to change that direction and reverse this trend."

The state will increase testing, according to the governor, and is working on a partnership with Arizona State University to implement rapid-result saliva testing for the virus. The state recently completed the testing of all residents and staff in long-term care facilities and is providing an additional $10 million for more personal protective equipment and masks in long-term care settings, Ducey said, and long-term care facilities remain a priority for the governor and the Arizona Department of Health Services.

Ducey said the virus is widespread in the state of Arizona and said the direction of rate of infection needs to change in the state.

"Arizonans must act responsibly to protect one another," he said.

View the updated guidance for businesses here and the updated guidance for restaurants here.
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