Graham Board of Supervisors extend mask mandate

The Graham County Board of Supervisors have extended the county's requirement for face coverings in public for another 30 days. - Anna Shvets Photo/Pexels

SAFFORD — With Arizona’s COVID infection rate the worst in the world, and Graham County’s infection rate one of the highest in the state, the Graham County Board of Supervisors agreed to extend the mandate of wearing face coverings in public for at least another 30 days.

“We’ll take a look at it every 30 days, as painful as that might be,” said Supervisor Danny Smith, R-Dist. 3. “Because we’re willing to try and get it right, to try and make a difference and not just have something that lasts forever.”

The board first approved a mask mandate Nov. 25 and lasting until the board’s first meeting in January. At that Jan. 4 meeting, the board reviewed data from the Graham County Health Department regarding the number of cases and declining capacity at Mt. Graham Regional Medical Center in order to determine the need for a 30-day extension of the mask requirement.

Under the mandate, persons are to wear a face covering every time out in public. The face covering requirement applies to all residents age 6 and older — with parents of children ages 2-5 asked to do their best to have the children wearing a face covering — as well as any business in which staff interacts with the public.

People are not required to wear face coverings in homes, in personal offices or in vehicles. And persons may remove their face coverings when eating at a dining establishment.

Under the original mandate, those willfully violating the requirement will receive a warning on a first offense, and subsequent offenses could be subject to a $50 civil penalty.