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Pima County reinstates indoor mask mandate

In a 3-2 vote, the Pima County Board of Supervisors decided Tuesday to reinstate a mask mandate for indoor public places until Feb. 28.

PIMA COUNTY, Ariz. — A mask mandate has officially been reinstated in Pima County after the Board of Supervisors approved reimplementing the policy on a 3-2 vote Tuesday.

On Dec. 16, Pima County shared that an individual living in Tucson was infected with the Omicron variant - marking the first confirmed case of this new variant in the county.

 With federal health officials saying that this new variant "accounted for an estimated 73% of new infections last week," the county moved to require the use of masks in indoor public places where maintaining six feet between people is not possible.  

According to the county, this mandate, which was opposed by supervisors  Steve Christy and Rex Scott, will be in effect through Feb. 28. The county will re-evaluate the policy then, based on the latest COVID-19 analytics. 

Pima County lifted its first mask mandate in May after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention gave the OK for fully vaccinated people to stop wearing masks outdoor in crowds and in most indoor settings.

That decision came after a battle with Gov. Doug Ducey over House Bill 2770, which allows businesses in Arizona to not be required to enforce a mask mandate on its premise.

As HB 2770 officially went into effect in September, Ducey released a statement to reiterate that under state law, businesses are not required to enforce Pima County's mask mandate.

"There is no mask mandate in Arizona. Remember that when the Pima County Board of Supervisors takes up the issue. Local jurisdictions did not enforce the mask mandates they imposed, putting an unfair burden on businesses," Ducey said

As of Tuesday, Arizona has confirmed 1,341,377 cases of COVID-19 after reporting 2,395 new cases. The death toll also rose to 23,742 on Tuesday, after reporting 223 new deaths.

People who wish to register or schedule a COVID-19 vaccine appointment are advised to contact 1-844-542-8201 or visit azdhs.gov.

For latest details from ADHS about the virus, click here.

RELATED: UArizona finds first cases of omicron variant on campus

RELATED: Hospital workers struggle with burnout as COVID beds fill

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