Scottsdale says due to a recent drop in COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations, residents and visitors won’t have to wear masks in public areas. The news is welcomed by some, but others say they have concerns.
Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane spoke at the council meeting last Tuesday rescinding the city’s mask mandate. But because of Maricopa County’s mask mandate, public areas will still require it.
According to the Arizona Department of Health Services rates of infection and deaths are down from just a month ago.
On Aug. 1, 2,992 COVID cases were reported by Arizona department of Health Services and on Sept. 1, only 507 cases were reported. Public health experts attribute these drops in cases to tighter restrictions on mask-wearing.
“This is not a matter of eliminating masks, but that we don’t want to be reliant on these masks,” Lane said.
Scottsdale resident Zach Dormae said he is relieved to hear the news.
“I am extremely happy to hear it was lifted because it means we are that much closer to getting back to normal life,” Dormae said.
Dormae worked as a bartender at The Three Wisemen in Old Town Scottsdale for two years. He got furloughed when COVID hit and his place of work shut down due to lack of business that took place in the recent months.
Dormae said the impact of the closures is going to change the way nightlife does business in Scottsdale.
“I think more higher-end restaurants will start to come out due to the fact that they have a DJ and environment that suits an upscale lounge,” Dormae said.
College student and Scottsdale local Lauren Lippert has a different perspective. Lippert is an avid mask-wearer and believes that “this decision is going to increase the spread of COVID, and the town will be back in quarantine,” she said.
Lippert went for a walk around Old Town Scottsdale the other night and said she was shocked at the number of people who were not masked.
“I am concerned about my health and others around me. I will continue to wear a mask in public and when social distancing is not possible,” Lippert said.
Mayor Lane admitted that masks played a role in dropping cases but says that the city has implemented more social distancing protocols to help with the spread.
Resident Juan Manuel, a server at Farm and Craft in Old Town Scottsdale, said that his restaurant is still requiring masks to be worn on not only employees but customers as well.
“Talking to you as a restaurant worker, if the mask rule is lifted, it would make our job a lot easier. I personally think that we all should be careful and do what it takes to stay healthy, if you know you have a health condition, wear your mask and protect yourself,” Manuel said.
Hospitals have reported around 20% availability of ICU beds since early August, according to Scottsdaleaz.gov.
The Arizona Department of Health Services warned in a news release “that this is not the time to get relaxed.”