Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey on Wednesday said he would give local governments the authority to make wearing face masks in public mandatory.
The move marks a major shift for Ducey, who’s been keeping rigid control of the statewide coronavirus response since he declared a public health emergency March 11.
“We are going to change and update guidance to that local governments can implement and face covering policies and determine enforcement,” Ducey said during a press conference.
Ducey’s “Stay Home, Stay Healthy, Stay Connected” executive order, which was in effect from March 31 to May 15, and the ensuing “Stay Healthy, Return Smarter, Return Stronger” order had provisions limiting local governments from enacting regulations related to the coronavirus pandemic that went beyond the state’s restrictions.
The number of cases reported in Arizona has been rising significantly since the start of the month. The amount of testing for the virus has generally increased, too, but so has the percentage of tests that are coming back positive.