NEVADA (KTNV) — Nevada's statewide mask mandate remains in place for residents and tourists alike as neighboring states loosen their mask requirements.
Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey announced on Thursday that local mask mandates will be phased out, but businesses can still require customers to wear masks on their property.
Arizona never issued a statewide mask mandate. Instead, mandates were put in place by cities and counties across the state. The governor's order means those mandates can no longer be enforced.
The mayor of Phoenix disagrees with Gov. Ducey's decision. Mayor Kate Gallego wrote a response on Twitter:
.@dougducey [Gov. Ducey] decision directly contradicts the best scientists in the field.
The horrible surge last June was only curbed by masking- when the Governor finally allowed cities to do it. To abandon precautions now is like spiking the ball on the 5-yard line.
We know new variants are circulating. The risk of another surge is real. The governor clearly cares a lot less about the people of Arizona than his political future.
Meanwhile, in Utah masks will no longer be required beginning on April 10 after Gov. Spencer Cox signed a bill nicknamed the "COVID-19 Endgame."
Gov. Cox says some lawmakers wanted to lift the mandate immediately but he felt it was better to wait.
As for Nevada, face coverings that "fully cover a person's nose and mouth" continue to be required in public spaces, whether they are public or privately owned, per the governor's Emergency Directive 024.
In response to changes in neighboring states, Gov. Steve Sisolak’s office said in a statement that:
...the State's executive order on face coverings has not changed. As the State moves toward a transition to local authority certain statewide mitigation measures, including face coverings, will remain in place. The State will continue to follow the health and safety advice of public health experts to help determine the best time to lift any statewide mandate.
His office also says:
“The Governor remains steadfast in his goal of protecting our residents and visitors and being one of the safest destinations in the country. As we continue efforts to vaccinate as many Nevadans as possible with doses allocated by the federal government, face coverings will serve as a critical tool in ensuring a safe environment for Nevadans and those who visit our State.”
Clark County shared a similar message in a statement:
The CDC continues to recommend the wearing of masks, including those who have been vaccinated. That remains what the state of Nevada and the Southern Nevada Health District are advising as well.
Some business owners in the Las Vegas valley say they expect the mask mandate to remain in place for some time.
“I’m looking for myself, I’m looking for my family and my staff," said restaurant owner Todd Clore of Todd’s Unique Dining. "We need to protect ourselves as well, so we can provide for you."
"Even after the mandate is done, we may continue to wear masks,“ Clore added.
Todd’s Unique Dining has signs posted letting customers know they cannot enter without a mask.
“I can't afford to lose 50% of my staff because they all of a sudden they get sick because they didn't wear a mask, we didn't clean properly, we're not taking care of things," said Clore. "So it’s in the best interest of everybody that we continue."
"Wear the mask, man," he said. "That's it."