Two Arizona sheriffs say they won't enforce governor's stay-at-home order

Two county sheriffs in Arizona say they will not be enforcing Gov. Doug Ducey's (R-Ariz.) stay-at-home order amid the novel coronavirus pandemic. 

According to the Arizona Republic, Mohave County Sheriff Doug Schuster and Pinal County Sheriff Mark Lamb have both said they will not arrest or hand out fines to those violating a stay-at-home order issued by Ducey that seeks to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, which data shows has infected thousands in the state and killed hundreds in recent months.

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“My conscience will not allow me to arrest someone who is trying to make a living,” Schuster told the paper. “I don’t believe it is a crime to try and make a living.”

“I don’t think, for the most part, people want to be defying [the order],” Schuster added. “They’re trying to do what’s best for their families.”

His comments come after Ducey said last week that violators could face a fine or jail time for not complying with his stay-at-home order. The mandate, which was initially implemented last month, was recently extended through mid-May and requires residents to practice social distancing but also allows certain businesses to reopen amid the pandemic, The Associated Press reported.

"Law enforcement can suggest they begin listening to the order," Ducey said. "And if they don't, they're going to have a class 1 misdemeanor, which is a $2,500 fine and up to six months in jail, and we will enforce that."

But Schuster told the Republic he cannot arrest or fine people for violating Ducey’s order and added that he felt doing so violated the Constitution.

“If I were to consider enforcing that, I would be in violation of my oath,” he told the paper. “That is something I cannot do.”

Lamb echoed similar remarks in his interview with the paper, saying, “I think people want to know that we’re going to support their constitutional rights.”

“I felt [Ducey] pushed me into a position where I needed to make our stance clear,” he told the paper.

“The numbers don’t justify the actions anymore. Three hundred deaths is not a significant enough number to continue to ruin the economy,” he added.

According to The New York Times’s database, more than 360 deaths from the virus have been recorded in Arizona in addition to more than 8,600 cases.

The Hill has reached out to both sheriffs’ offices for comment.