FILE - Scottsdale, Arizona

Scottsdale, Arizona viewed from above.

(The Center Square) – Citing the city’s falling COVID-19 infection rate, Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane has ordered the city’s facemask mandate removed.

The city made the announcement Monday. 

“When the original face covering order went into effect, our hospital system was in crisis,” Lane said. “The alarming growth in cases across the county was pushing hospital capacity to the limit, and Scottsdale’s mask requirement was part of efforts in communities across the state to get that situation under control. It worked.”

While the city’s rule is gone, the Maricopa County mask mandate remains in effect. Enacted on June 20, it says anyone older than 6 years old must wear a face covering when riding public transportation, patronizing businesses, or in other situations where social distancing cannot be maintained. The punishment for breaking the county mask order is a warning for the first offense and a fine of up to $50 for any other penalties thereafter.

County officials met Monday to discuss the county’s mandate but didn’t take any action. 

The city cautioned that residents should still maintain good hygiene and vigilance. 

“As I have stated previously, no amount of government regulation is a substitute for individual behavior and decision making. As we enter flu season, COVID-19 remains active and potentially dangerous. We are not out of the woods,” Lane said. “It remains the civic responsibility of each person to continue protecting others and themselves, by taking extra care if part of the vulnerable population, staying home when possible and certainly when sick, by practicing good hand hygiene, and by wearing masks around other people.”

The Arizona Department of Health Services announced 595 new cases of COVID-19 Tuesday, attributing 20 more deaths to the virus, all of which occurred at least six days prior. 

Staff Reporter

Cole Lauterbach reports on Illinois and Arizona government and statewide issues for The Center Square. He has produced radio shows for stations in Central Illinois and created award-winning programs for Comcast SportsNet Chicago.