Clifton mandates face masks in public

CLIFTON — To slow the spread of COVID-19, Clifton has become the first area community to mandate wearing face coverings in public.

Mayor Luis Montoya declared a health and safety emergency Wednesday, with the declaration carrying a face mask requirement that will go into effect Friday, June 26, at 5 p.m.

Under the declaration, everyone over the age of 5 must wear a face covering in “a public setting” and when maintaining 6-foot physical distancing is “difficult or impossible.”

Exceptions include when in a single-person work setting without public contact; when at a business and engaged in eating, drinking or sleeping; when a person cannot wear a face covering due to medical condition, mental health condition or developmental disability; and children under the age of 5.

Not wearing a face covering will be a Class-1 misdemeanor, carrying a penalty of no more than $2,500 and/or incarceration not to exceed six months. However, Montoya’s declaration states that enforcement will begin with education before citations are issued.