Safford adopts resolution suggesting mask use

David Bell Photo/Gila Valley Central. Three of the four members of the Safford City Council were re-elected Tuesday. Re-Elected was, starting from second from left, Vice Mayor Richard Ortega, Mayor Jason Kouts and Councilman Michael Andazola. Councilman Steve McGaughey, far left, was not up for re-election this year.

SAFFORD — The Safford City Council adopted Monday a resolution strongly recommending residents use face coverings when out in the public.

Acknowledging that the county experienced a 70-case increase over the previous seven days, the proclamation reads that “the Graham County Board of Supervisors, the Safford City Council, the Thatcher Town Council and the Pima Town Council herby (are) strongly urging . . . (residents) wear a mask in public at all times regardless of whether you are six-feet apart or not.”

The resolution also recommends residents follow other CDC guidelines designed to slow the spread of COVID-19, including washing hands, avoiding large gatherings, cleaning surfaces and staying home from work when not feeling well.

No council member suggested the city instead issue a mandate to wear masks in public; however, Vice Mayor Richard Ortega did ask his fellow council members and city staff to begin working with the other councils on a new strategy if the policy of strongly suggesting wearing of masks doesn’t produce positive results in slowing the spread of the virus.

“That’s one thing I believe very strongly in: be prepared, look down the road,” Ortega said. “I’d rather be prepared than, all of a sudden, have it slap in the face and wonder why didn’t we do something?”

The Graham County Board of Supervisors adopted the resolution Monday, and the Pima and Thatcher town councils will be asked to adopt the resolution at their regular meetings later this month.