While the Fountain Hills Town Council voted 4-3 Friday afternoon, June 19, to not require face masks in public places following a spike in Arizona COVID-19 cases, the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors adopted regulations requiring face masks shortly after for all incorporated and unincorporated areas of the county.
According to Town Manager Grady Miller, the Maricopa County regulations supersede those made by the Town of Fountain Hills. An earlier version of this story was posted late Friday night, with The Times misinterpreting Miller’s input.
“It is clear that the County regulations will impact Fountain Hills residents,” Miller said. “Based on how the regulations are written, cities and towns without their own face covering regulations will be expected to adhere to the County regulations. The County regulations are secondary, meaning that those cities and towns that have enacted stricter face covering regulations will supersede the County regulations.”
Miller also stated that additional information will be provided as soon as the town’s legal counsel has had an opportunity to dig into the details.
“Our town attorney will be reviewing and interpreting the County regulations,” Miller continued. “After he has completed that, he will advise Council and staff about their impact on Fountain Hills. Out of respect and deference to our town attorney, it is more appropriate for him to interpret and advise the Town Council on the impact of the County regulations.”
Earlier this week, Governor Doug Ducey elected to task local governments with deciding if face masks were necessary to maintain public health. At 3 p.m. Friday afternoon, the Fountain Hills Town Council held a special meeting to make a decision on the matter. Council members received many emails, phone calls and visits from concerned residents to close out the week, as well as heard from a handful of community members who spoke during the open call on June 19. In the end, a 4-3 vote meant Fountain Hills residents would not be expected to wear face coverings.
Then came the regulation adopted by the Maricopa County Board of Supervisors calling for face coverings in public which, in short, render the local council’s action moot. These regulations are in effect as of now.
The measures adopted by the MCBS state that anyone older than 6 must wear a mask in enclosed public spaces where social distancing cannot be maintained. A “reasonable effort” must be made to have children 2 to 5 years of age wear a mask in enclosed public spaces. Anyone operating or riding public transportation must wear a mask, as well as staff working in public spaces. Exemptions include people in their homes, as well as children under the age of 2. Restaurant patrons do not need to wear a mask while eating and drinking, and people who are able to maintain social distancing while walking or exercising outdoors are not required to wear a mask. A mask also does not need to be worn in a personal vehicle, office or other personal space.