Given the rise in COVID-19 cases throughout Maricopa County, Scottsdale Mayor W.J. "Jim" Lane has issued an emergency proclamation that requires people to cover their nose and mouth in most public areas except for individuals or small groups in parks or for outdoor exercise when physical distancing can be maintained.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the virus that causes COVID-19 is spreading very easily and sustainably between people. In general, the more closely a person interacts with others and the longer that interaction, the higher the risk of COVID-19 spread.
Covering one’s nose and mouth is a simple yet effective means to limit exposure and spread (scientific references supporting this are included in question 11 below).
Per exceptions contained within the emergency proclamation, face coverings are not required for children under six, those persons engaged in religious services and those that per CDC guidance should not wear face coverings due to health conditions.
Please read these questions and answers for further clarification.
1. When are face coverings required?
Face coverings are required any time one is in an indoor public setting or will be in contact with other individuals with whom they are not closely and frequently associated (such members of the same household). Face coverings are required at places including grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants and bars, retail stores, special events and public transit.
Face coverings are generally not required outdoors unless one will be in contact with other individuals with whom they are not closely and frequently associated (such members of the same household).
Face coverings are not required in facilities that contain fewer than 10 people who are able to maintain at least six feet distance between them.
1(b). What about multi-family living areas such as apartments?
Face coverings are required anywhere indoors that you may come into contact with people outside your household. In apartment buildings, these areas include common areas, hallways, elevators and lobbies.
2. Do people have to wear face coverings at the gym or other exercise facilities?
Gyms and indoor exercise facilities may open only as approved by the Arizona Department of Health Services, which may require face coverings while exercising indoors.
3. Are face coverings required for organized sports or activities?
Face coverings are not required for people participating in organized group or team sports where it is not practicable or feasible to wear a face covering or physically distance during activity.
Face coverings are required for anyone not participating (such as parents and coaches) who cannot maintain at least 6 feet distance from others with whom they are not closely associated.
4. Are face coverings required for outdoor exercise?
No, persons exercising outdoors, or while walking or exercising with other persons of the same household, are not required to wear face coverings as long as physical distancing of 6 feet from others is maintained. People are not expected to wear a face covering while swimming. Physical distancing should be adhered to as much as possible in pool settings.
5. What about while eating or drinking at a restaurant or similar establishment?
An exception (2.e. in the proclamation) is allowed for people who are eating or drinking at restaurants or similar businesses, provided they are seated at their table or other designated eating area.
6. Do I have to wear a face covering if I have had COVID-19 and recovered?
Yes – the emergency order applies to everyone in Scottsdale. The science is unclear on whether someone who has tested positive for COVID-19 and recovered can still transmit the virus to others. CDC recommends continuing to practice everyday preventive actions – including covering nose and mouth when around others – even after one has had the virus and recovered.
CDC: When You Can be Around Others After You Had or Likely Had COVID-19
CDC: How to Protect Yourself & Others
7. What if in a vehicle with my family?
Face coverings are not required when you are with family or with others with whom you are closely and frequently associated (such those who live in the same household).
8. What are requirements for my business?
Face coverings are required for people working in typical office, retail, restaurant and other business settings, unless the establishment contains fewer than 10 people who are able to maintain at least six feet distance between them.
9. How should businesses enforce mask requirements with customers?
Understand first that exceptions to the mask ordinance are provided for anyone who falls into the CDC’s guidance for those who should not wear face coverings due to a medical or mental health condition or developmental disability. Under the proclamation, people do not have to produce documentation of their condition.
Businesses should first ask customers to comply – to put their mask on. If the customer does not put a mask on, the customer should be asked to leave. If the customer refuses, contact the police for assistance (please use the non-emergency line: 480-312-5000 unless immediate response is required).
10. How long is this order effective?
The order does not have a set expiration date; the mayor will continue regular review of public health data and recommendations, and will adjust the city's emergency orders accordingly.
11. What is the June 2020 study referenced in the city proclamation?
Texas A&M Study: Face Coverings Critical in Preventing Spread of COVID-19
Researchers estimate that the measure prevented more than 66,000 infections in New York City in less than a month.
Additional studies supporting face coverings as effective means of limiting spread:
- A rapid systematic review of the efficacy of face coverings and respirators against coronaviruses and other respiratory transmissible viruses for the community, healthcare workers and sick patients (International Journal of Nursing Studies)