The Yuma City Council approved an emergency proclamation requiring the use of face masks outdoors to help mitigate the COVID-19 pandemic. Mayor Doug Nicholls and Councilmember Chris Morris voted against the measure.
The council majority apparently agreed on Friday with Yuma Regional Medical Center President and CEO Dr. Robert Trenchel, who said local virus cases are now the highest they have ever been. He said masks are the best defense we have,
"I think that masking is one of the most important points that we can do to prevent the spread," Dr. Trenschel said. "Loose droplets spread as you talk, as you sing, speech whatever, there’s microdroplets that go a certain distance and they fall on other people. So, yes masking would be a significant preventive measure."
Yuma Police Chief Susan Smith was asked by the Council how YPD would enforce the mask requirement. In response to a joking question from Councilman Mike Shelton, Chief Smith said there would be no “Mask Police” enforcing the mandate.
Smith said education will be the key to enforcement saying “when we hear of a violation we will respond and educate.”
She added that what she called “normal police calls” will be responded to first.
Mayor Nicholls signed the proclamation he voted against Friday evening. Similar proclamations have been issued in Yuma County, Somerton and San Luis.
KAWC staff contributed to this report.