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Some Cities Impose Criminal Charges for Not Wearing a Mask

Posted on June 19, 2020 in Criminal Defense

Recently, Arizona Governor Doug Ducey granted local governments the power to implement their own regulations regarding wearing face coverings. While some municipalities have chosen not to enact measures to require face coverings, many have done so or are expected to in the very near future. Most of the cities that have enacted regulations require every individual over the age of 6 years old to wear a face-covering when within 6 feet of individuals not in your household. However, the details vary from city to city, and some cities are threatening to revoke business licenses and press criminal charges on individuals for non-compliance. Here are some things that you need to know regarding the current cities with requirements in Arizona, and the potential penalties for violating these orders city by city.

Cities Mask Requirements & Potential Penalties for Violating These Orders

Avondale – Effective June 21 at 12:01 a.m., Avondale will require any individual over the age of 2 years old to wear a face-covering in any city building, retail establishment, convenience store, grocery store, pharmacy, gym, indoor sport or activity facility or medical office. Those who have medical disabilities that prevent them from wearing face-covering are exempt. While a warning is required before enforcement, Non-compliance with the order can result in penalties from having your special event permit being pulled, having your business license revoked, or even criminal misdemeanor charges.

Chandler – Effective on June 19, Chandler requires individuals to wear face coverings following CDC guidelines in public places where persons cannot maintain continuous physical distancing (6 feet or more). The Proclamation has a goal of education and encouraging voluntary compliance. There are no penalties for non-compliance.

Gilbert – Effective June 19 at 5:00 p.m., all individuals in the Town of Gilbert are required to wear face coverings when entering Town-owned buildings and facilities and in indoor or outdoor places where an individual cannot keep 6 feet away from other individuals. The order requires that all businesses post signage notifying patrons that they must wear face-covering before entering the building. The Gilbert Emergency Order expires after 30 calendar days. The stated purpose is to encourage voluntary participation and does not impose a penalty for non-compliance.

Phoenix – Effective June 20 at 6:00 p.m., all individuals in Phoenix must remain in possession of a face covering when they leave their home and must wear the face-covering when they are within 6 feet of another individual who is not a member of their household. There are several exceptions, such as conflict with religious beliefs, while dining in restaurants, while exercising, among others. They are not charging individuals for non-compliance with a criminal offense, but a person could face a civil penalty of up to $250 if they refuse to comply with the Declaration. But a warning is required before any penalty for non-compliance is enforced.

Scottsdale – Effective June 19 at 5:00 p.m., while in Scottsdale, all individuals must wear face coverings in all places of “public accommodation” where they cannot remain further than 6 feet from other people, not family members. Some of the areas specifically referenced are grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, bars, gyms, retail stores, special events, and public transit. Violating this could result in criminal misdemeanor charges. However, warnings will be issued first, but subsequent violations could result in criminal misdemeanor charges.

Tempe – Effective June 18, 2020, Tempe will require face coverings in all places of “public accommodation” where an individual will be in contact with someone who is not a member of their household. The Proclamation highlights areas such as grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants, bars, gyms, retail stores, special events, and public transit. Exceptions are carved out, including but not limited to those who cannot wear a mask for health reasons, conflicting religious beliefs, exercising, and restaurants while eating. Non-compliance is a criminal offense, but first, individuals must be given a chance to comply with the order. Then, if continued non-compliance occurs, an individual will be charged with a criminal offense.

Speak with AZ Defenders if You Are Facing Charges for Not Wearing a Mask

If you are facing criminal charges for non-compliance with these new requirements regarding face coverings, it is in your best interest to speak with a criminal defense lawyer. Here at AZ Defenders, our local criminal lawyers are familiar with the law surrounding these declarations and regulations enforced by each municipality. Our legal professionals can help you learn more about your rights, penalties you may face, and can help you fight criminal charges to limit the negative outcome a criminal conviction may have on your future. To speak with one of our Phoenix criminal lawyers, and schedule a free consultation, fill out a contact form online or call us at (480) 456-6400.

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