Gilbert proposal would require masks with exceptions, ask law enforcement to educate before enforcement

Gilbert Town Council
Gilbert Town Council will consider June 19 a proposal to require face coverings in town. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

Gilbert Town Council will consider June 19 a proposal to require face coverings in town. (Tom Blodgett/Community Impact Newspaper)

The proposed emergency order that Gilbert Town Council will take up at its special meeting June 19 will require face coverings with certain exceptions and will ask law enforcement to educate violators before enforcing the order.

Council may adopt, modify or reject the proposal when it meets virtually at 8 a.m. June 19.

Under the proposal, people would be required to wear a face covering when entering or inside a town-owned facility, a place of business or a mode of transportation open to the public as well as any indoor or outdoor space where people cannot maintain at least 6 feet in social distancing from anyone who is not a member of their family.

There are exceptions, which are as follows

  • Those who cannot wear a face covering due to a medical or behavioral condition

  • Children under 2 years of age

  • Restaurant patrons while they are dining

  • When complying with directions of law enforcement officers

  • In settings where it is not practical or feasible to wear a face covering, including when obtaining or rendering goods or services, such as the receipt of dental services or while swimming

  • Anyone who has trouble breathing or is unconscious, incapacitated or otherwise unable to remove the mask without assistance

The order would take effect June 22 and last until or rescinded or modified or until Gov. Doug Ducey declares an end to the COVID-19 State of Emergency.

Law enforcement and other town officials are to first educate and encourage voluntary compliance with the order and give an opportunity to comply before any enforcement action being taken.

Violation of the order would be considered a misdemeanor under state law.

Ducey announced June 17 that he issued an executive order allowing local officials to order people to wear masks or face coverings and to enforce their rules.

Mayor Jenn Daniels announced that evening that council would take up the matter June 19, respecting state open meeting laws requiring posting an agenda at least 24 hours in advance of a public meeting. The agenda Gilbert has posted includes information on attending the meeting online.
By Tom Blodgett
Raised in Arizona, Tom Blodgett has spent 30 years in journalism in Arizona and is the editor of the Gilbert edition of Community Impact Newspaper. He is a graduate of Arizona State University, where he now serves as an instructional professional in the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication and editorial adviser to The State Press, the university's independent student media outlet.


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