The city of Peoria and Peoria Unified School District have responded to the governor's most recent executive order regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
Peoria Mayor Cathy Carlat put out a statement regarding Gov. Doug Ducey’s March 25 executive order, rescinding previous pandemic-related orders made over the past year.
“As your mayor, the well-being of Peoria residents has been at the forefront of my thoughts and actions as I have been monitoring the COVID-19 guidelines put forward by our governor and top public health officials over the past year,” Ms. Carlat said in a statement. “I am grateful for Peoria residents’ efforts to slow the spread of this virus and pleased to report that Peoria continues to fare well among other Valley cities, with metrics among the best for cases per 100,000, low percent positivity, and high vaccination rates.”
Although not the case in the Peoria Unfied School District, the governor’s new Executive Order 2021-06 means physical distancing and mask wearing are now recommended rather than required in Peoria.
The new measure also removes the requirement for local governments like Peoria to approve public events of more than 50 people, states all COVID-19 related rules for businesses such as bars, restaurants and gyms will transition from requirements to recommendations, and calls for any remaining government mask mandates to be phased out.
While the city cannot require face coverings in public settings, mitigation policies inside city facilities and at city-sponsored events and programs remains under the jurisdiction of local governments.
“The City of Peoria will continue to take a phased re-opening approach that aligns with public health guidelines. ... These policies may vary from facility to facility and will be evaluated and updated weekly,” according to the statement.
Regarding public and charter schools, the new executive order does not rescind Executive Order 2020-51, which requires school districts and charter schools to require mask-wearing.
It also does not overturn the emergency order from Arizona Department of Health Services Emergency Measure 2020-04 that specifically requires school districts to have a face covering policy in place.
"Mask-wearing remains a requirement by students, staff, vendors and guests at all school district facilities," according to a Facebook post by the Peoria Unified School District.
Peoria private businesses now have the right to determine and implement measures and policies to mitigate the spread of COVID-19. However, any such policies — including mask use and distancing requirements — are outside of the jurisdiction, authority and approval of the city of Peoria.