State Watch

Phoenix mayor urges governor to issue statewide mask order, close some businesses

Phoenix Mayor Kate Gallego (D) is calling for Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) to take further action to limit the spread of the coronavirus on Sunday. 

The mayor on Sunday renewed her push for the Republican governor to impose a statewide mask order as well as consider shutting some non-essential businesses and services amid coronavirus spikes in the state. 

"I joined mayors from across Arizona to ask the governor to put in place significant expansion and safety precautions," Gallego said Sunday on CBS's "Face the Nation," referring to a letter she and other Arizona mayors sent Ducey last week pushing for statewide action. 

"We do not have a statewide requirement for facial coverings in Arizona and we need one," Gallego added on CBS. "We would love to see additional protections, including moving restaurants completely to take-out."

She also suggested some of the "riskier personal care situations," such as nail salons, should be shut down. 

"We think that's just not necessary right now while you're seeing such high levels of the virus," Gallego said. 

Arizona is among states experiencing a surge in coronavirus cases and the outbreak continues to be a "difficult situation" in the greater Phoenix area, Gallego said.

"We are seeing positivity rates above 20 percent. We continue to have a real challenge with testing, although there was some very good news this week about additional resources that are coming," she said. 

"We are setting records of the type you don't want to set for the use of ventilators by COVID patients, acute care beds, our healthcare workers are telling us they are already tired and worried there could be an additional growth," the mayor added. 

Ducey on Thursday announced an executive order that limited indoor dining capacity to 50 percent. It followed an order the governor issued at the end of June shutting bars and gyms for at least 30 days as the state experienced a surge in cases. 

The governor also encouraged Arizonans to stay home when possible and wwear face masks, but he did not go so far as to issue a statewide face mask requirement

Patrick Ptak, a spokesperson for Ducey, defended the governor's response to the pandemic when asked for comment in response to Gallego. 

"On masks, we want to see everyone wear a mask when out in public. Our approach has been about compliance. Currently, 75 percent of the state has a mask mandate in place, and we've made clear all Arizonans should wear a mask in public," Ptak said in a statement. 

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