Governor says he’ll protect right to assemble

Protestors assemble at a Trump rally in Duluth/screengrab television. coverage

By Howard Fischer | Capitol Media Services via Arizona Capitol Times

Gov. Doug Ducey is defending indoor political rallies with thousands of people without masks even as he admitted the only way Arizona will stop the upward trend of infections is if people mask up and stay home.

“People’s rights to assemble are not going to be infringed,” the governor said Thursday when asked about his attendance at a Trump rally earlier this week at a packed north Phoenix church with about 3,000 people, the majority of who did not have face coverings. And Ducey is expected to attend two events this coming week with Vice President Pence, one in Tucson that has been billed as a campaign stop.

Ducey also brushed aside questions about how requiring people to wear masks — which is now the law in Phoenix — interferes with their right to assemble.

“It’s in the First Amendment,” he said.

At the same time, however, the governor announced the state Department of Liquor Licenses and Control had sent notices to eight Scottsdale bars, which he said were not complying with the new “guidance” he issued last week to ensure protection of employees and patrons. That agency is empowered to take away the right of any of these establishments to serve alcohol.

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