SUBSCRIBER EXCLUSIVE

Litchfield Park keeps mask requirement in place for city facilities, events

Private businesses can make their own decisions after governor rolls back previous executive orders; schools still under mask requirement

As of March 25, those who attend city-sponsored events like the Litchfield Park Art & Wine Festival held earlier in the month, will be required to wear face coverings.
As of March 25, those who attend city-sponsored events like the Litchfield Park Art & Wine Festival held earlier in the month, will be required to wear face coverings.
[Kelly O’Sullivan/Independent Newsmedia]
Posted

Gov. Doug Ducey may have rolled back mask requirements and other COVID-19 safety measures March 25, but the city of Litchfield Park is still requiring face coverings to be worn in city facilities and at city-sponsored events.

City Manager Matthew Williams said during an interview at City Hall early Thursday afternoon that the city is considering extending those requirements through May 1 to let more people get vaccinated. They do not apply to private businesses or public gatherings not sponsored by the city.

As of March 24, those 16 and older are eligible for the two-dose Pfizer vaccine and those 18 and older are eligible for the two-dose Moderna and one-dose Janssen (Johnson and Johnson) vaccines.

Mr. Williams said that earlier this week, the city partnered with Department of Emergency Management officials to hold a vaccination clinic for city employees at City Hall.

Though they are not required to get vaccinated as a condition of work, he said 30 out of the employees on staff received the one-dose Johnson and Johnson vaccine.

Gov. Ducey’s Executive Order 2021-06, issued March 25, bars municipalities like Litchfield Park from requiring face coverings in public settings and rescinds an order requiring the city officials to approve public events drawing more than 50 people, but it does give local governments the option to continue enforcing mitigation policies in city facilities and at city-sponsored events.

In nearby Goodyear, city officials announced that face coverings are no longer required in city facilities and at city-sponsored events, though they are required at Goodyear Ballpark, per Major League Baseball policy.

READ: Goodyear rescinds mask mandate, other COVID-19 safety measures

The order also transitions rules for bars, restaurants and gyms from requirements to recommendations, but private businesses can decide for themselves whether to require patrons to wear masks and limit capacity inside their establishments.

Mr. Williams said Thursday afternoon city officials were working with City Attorney Joseph Estes to interpret the order to answer questions from local business owners.

Calls to City Hall started as soon as news of the new executive order broke, he said.

Throughout the pandemic, City Hall has operated with skeleton crews and that will continue at least through May 1, Mr. Williams said.

Mr. Williams, Jenna Huffman, assistant to the city manager/city council, and the clerk of the Magistrate Court are usually in the office daily.  Other employees cycle in and out as needed, he said.

“We want everyone to be safe,” Mr. Williams said.

Schools requirements

The executive order does not overturn Arizona Department of Health Services’ AZDHS Emergency Measure 2020-04, which requires school districts to have a face-covering policy in place.

Kelly O’Sullivan can be reached at kosullivan@newszap.com or 760-963-1697.

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