Mayor Regina Romero issued a proclamation Thursday requiring COVID-19 facemasks to be worn in public settings by all Tucsonans age 2 and older when physical distancing is difficult.
Violators could potentially face a civil infraction.
“We saw numbers spiking related to the reopening of businesses in the state of Arizona,” Romero said today. “Just Tuesday we saw one of the biggest spikes of cases throughout the state.”
The proclamation defines a facemask as "a covering made of cloth, fabric, or other soft or permeable material that covers the nose and mouth and surrounding areas of the lower face". Acceptable facemasks can be factory-made, handmade, a bandana, scarf, or any face-covering that shields the nose and mouth areas, according to the proclamation.
The new guidance carries a $50 fine or five hours of community service for those who exhibit a “blatant disregard” for public health and safety, according to Romero. The city will take an educational approach in enforcement, reserving civil infractions for repeat offenders, Romero said.
“We’re going to have an educational approach to the requirement. If there is a blatant disregard for the public health of others, then we will, if absolutely necessary, a civil infraction of $50 or five hours of community service,” Romero said. “This is something we’re asking of everyone to practice social responsibility, practice caring for themselves and others, and it will take all of us to accomplish.”
City Attorney Mike Rankin said the proclamation applies to all public settings defined as “spaces where the public is invited or allowed to come in” and includes outdoor spaces where social distancing is near-impossible.
“It applies in those spaces where physical distancing is impossible or difficult,” Rankin said.
Businesses will be required to have all staff to wear a face mask when interacting with the public. Masks will also need to be worn by operators in all public transportation settings, including vehicles for hire like Uber and Lyft drivers. Parents are also required to make sure their children 2 years of age and up are wearing facemasks.
“Parents have the responsibility of taking reasonable actions to get the face-covering on their children and when you wear a face covering it has to cover your nose and mouth,” Rankin said.
The proclamation gives parents flexibility by stating "parents are to make reasonable efforts" to make sure their children have facemasks on in public spaces, according to Rankin. While young children are required to wear a facemask in public, they won't need to wear it while at daycare, Rankin said.
"Generally this does apply to children as young as two years old, but with respect to where it applies, it talks about places of public accommodation where the public is entering," Rankin said. "I understand that parents come in to drop their kids off, but daycare isn't really the place where you are inviting the public to come in all day."
Romero added child care providers should still follow established best practices and speak with the children's parents often about any coronavirus concerns in the home.
"We want to make sure that child care centers practice this as much as it's practical and being able to have the guidance of the parent or guardian of that child," Romero said. "The owners of child care centers have to speak to the parents."
The proclamation does make exceptions for people working in their own private office, driving in their personal vehicle, working out—or running—outdoors, and when eating or drinking in a restaurant setting, among others.
The proclamation goes into effect on Saturday, June 20 at 6 a.m.
Read the full proclamation below: