BULLHEAD CITY — Today is the last day for a citywide resolution mandating people wear face coverings while in public to help reduce the spread of COVID-19.
Council members voted 4-3 against continuing the mandate during their meeting on Tuesday.
Most residents who spoke at the meeting told council members they wanted the requirement to end. The decision brought applause and some cheers from many people at the meeting.
Mayor Tom Brady and Council Members Kathy Bruck and Mark Clark voted to continue the mandate for at least another month.
Council members Steve D’Amico, Tami Ring, Sheila Shutts and Annette Wegmann voted against an extension to the order issued by Brady on June 29 and extended twice.
D’Amico and Wegmann expressed concern about businesses that have been requiring employees to wear the masks throughout their shifts.
Wegmann also said she has been dealing with aggravated allergy effects from wearing masks.
Ring said that while she didn’t believe COVID-19 was a hoax and that she had lost a friend with leukemia after that person contracted the virus, she said the order should end.
“We’re not all sick,” Ring also said. “You are responsible for your own health.”
Brady said that while he wanted all businesses to re-open as quickly as possible, there were other considerations, such as the well-being of the city’s vulnerable seniors. Masks don’t protect the wearer so much as protect people around the wearer, he said.
The effects of the virus on some people can be serious and long-lasting.
“This whole pandemic is tearing us apart,” he stressed. “I’m afraid if we don’t pull together we might see another spike.”
Brady also explained that he didn’t want to see a repeat of businesses having to close as they did in late June after May re-openings soon were accompanied by a spike in the number of local cases.
Now, the area has fulfilled early state-mandated metrics about case loads. The community is at a point where some businesses that have completely shut down can apply to operate again in a highly limited and controlled manner.
Two weeks ago, Mad Dog Fitness was the first fitness center to re-open under new rules of operation meant to continue keeping down the spread of COVID-19.
While the number of local COVID-19 cases has continued dropping, Brady suggested that it would be prudent for people to wear the masks for another month or two.
Not only Bullhead City but also Kingman and Lake Havasu City issued face covering mandates after Gov. Doug Ducey allowed local governments to impose such measures.
Brady also warned that many places — private businesses — will continue requiring face coverings not only in the city but also in the Tri-state.
Corporate businesses, such as Walmart, Kohl’s, Safeway and a long list of other national retailers won’t drop such requirements just because it’s no longer a city mandate.
Masks are still to be worn in Nevada and California businesses, including in Laughlin casinos, and Fort Mojave Tribal properties in Arizona, California and Nevada.
Ducey’s mandate still stands in restaurants, bars, gyms and fitness centers.
The same goes for public schools and Mohave Community College.
In other business, the council:
- Approved Ergon Asphalt and Emulsions Inc,, of Las Vegas, to be the supplier of asphalt emulsion for use in the city’s street maintenance projects during this fiscal year. The low bidder quoted a price of $743,386.
- Approved the low bid of Precise Builders Inc., of Fort Mohave, to be the contractor for the Senior Nutrition Center rehabilitation project. A Community Development Block Grant of $426,240 and city general fund reserve of $60,276 will go toward the project.
- Allowed for amendment of the city’s contract with Raftelis Financial Consultants for consulting on the valuation of EPCOR Water Arizona’s local assets as the city seeks to take over the company’s operations within the city limits. Cost will be $67,526 for new work. The city already spent $52,927 on services by Raftelis that will be used for this next valuation process.
- Authorized the addition to the city’s fee schedule of charging for parking. Focus will be recouping costs associated with special events in the city’s parks.