New law signed by Ducey doesn’t exactly bar mask mandates

ByHoward Fischer | Capitol Media Services 

Gov. Doug Ducey signed legislation Friday that will bar government officials from requiring businesses to enforce new mask mandates.

But there may be less there than meets the eye.

Nothing in the statute crafted by Rep. Joseph Chaplik, R-Scottsdale, outlaws mask mandates.

It remains within the power of the governor to issue new mandates, like he did last year when he said bars, restaurants, movie theaters and fitness centers could reopen. They just had to follow certain protocols, including that staff and patrons were masks.

All the new law says is that the governor — and state and local officials — can’t order businesses to enforce those edicts about who has to be wearing a mask. That technically would be up to others, ranging from local law enforcement and state health department workers to the Department of Liquor Licenses and Control.

It is true that some of those agencies did close down businesses for failure to comply with the governor’s executive orders. But most of those closures were for violating occupancy requirements, not for having unmasked customers.

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