Cottonwood mayor to require face masks in public
Council voted 4-3 against an emergency order
COTTONWOOD - After a 4-3 Cottonwood City Council vote against an emergency order Friday, Cottonwood Mayor Tim Elinski told those in attendance he would still issue a proclamation required face masks in public.
The proclamation was read aloud by Elinski at the meeting. It includes an exception to face coverings for those consuming food or beverages or for those who have medical reasons for not wearing a mask.
Elinski and council members Debbie Wilden and Ruben Jauregui voted in favor of the emergency order. Vice Mayor Michael Mathews and council members Tosca Henry, Jackie Nairn and Doug Hulse voted against it.
Immediately following the vote at the end of the 1.5-hour meeting, Elinski announced he would implement a face covering requirement by mayoral proclamation.
“So, then, this was a waste of time,” Henry said after Elinski said he overrule the majority vote of the council.
Mathews said he will not participate in any council meetings until Elinski rescinds the proclamation.
The council’s next regular meeting is Tuesday, July 7.
“I really thought the council would approve the order,” Elinski told the Verde Independent after the meeting. “We’ve seen a huge spike in cases, though not here in Cottonwood. We should be willing to do whatever it takes to keep it that way.”
Elinski’s announcement came at the end of a meeting that included emotional public input. Both the U.S. and Arizona constitutions were mentioned by those opposed to a face-covering requirement. In all, about a dozen people shared their views with the city council.
A few people spoke via GoToMeeting.com. Dr. Leon Pontikes, chief medical officer for Verde Valley Medical Center and Northern Arizona Healthcare, spoke at length by phone.
The Sedona City Council will take up face coverings as part of its Tuesday, June 23 meeting, set for 4:30 p.m. in the Council Chamber.
Clarkdale Mayor Doug Von Gausig issued a similar mask-requirement decree Friday.
Yavapai County, along with all municipalities in the Prescott area, have decided to not require face coverings. Camp Verde Town Manager Russ Martin said the Town Council could take it up at its first July meeting. Jerome Town Manager Candace Gallagher was unavailable for comment.