Arizona Mayor On Masks: 'We Will Err On The Side Of Freedom'

AZ Mayor Won’t Enforce Masks: ‘We Will Err On The Side Of Freedom’

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Huntington Beach, CA, on May 1, 2020. Allen J. Schaben/Getty

One Arizona mayor says masks “take away freedoms from the citizenry”

As COVID-19 cases in Arizona are spiking and the state’s Governor is shutting down businesses like bars and movie theaters, one Arizona mayor is still like, nah. Bryce Hamblin, the mayor of Eagar, Arizona — a small town between Phoenix and Albuquerque — is still plowing forward with a planned Fourth of July parade and will not require, or even encourage, his community to wear masks because #Freedom.

“Over the past several weeks, I have been asked repeatedly what the Town of Eagar plans to do about COVID-19, masks, visitors, riots, etc. It is somewhat alarming how many expect and almost invite a more drastic infringement on their freedoms,” Hamblin said in a statement shared on Facebook. “My response from the onset of COVID-19 pandemic has been that we will err on the side of freedom.”

As more than 120,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the United States — and those numbers are constantly rising — many people are wearing masks to err on the side of caution. But refusing to protect your community so they can be free to die if they want to? I mean, I can’t say it’s not on-brand for America.

Despite alarming rates of COVID-19 in the state, Arizona has no statewide mask mandate. Some Arizona cities have enacted their own mask rules, but Mayor Hamblin won’t budge in Eagar and he’s certainly not canceling the Independence Day parade. He said he can’t require “healthy, law-abiding citizens” to wear a mask, but said that if you feel sick you should just not come to the parade. Even Arizona Governor Doug Ducey, who literally said in May, “What an Arizonan decides to do is up to them,” is now telling people to wear masks and stay home on the Fourth of July.

“… Never before has our government been more eager and willing to take away freedoms from the citizenry. Never before has the citizenry been more willing to give them up,” Hamblin very dramatically added in his statement. For the record, the CDC recommends wearing a mask because it prevents asymptomatic carriers from expelling their own potential COVID-19 infection out into the world and infecting someone else.

Hamblin ended his statement with: “This is America. Stand up and be somebody. Be brave and live free.” Give me a break. All the comments on the Facebook post of the mayor’s statement are overwhelmingly positive. One thousand likes, not a single negative reaction. At this point, you kinda just have to shrug your shoulders and say, Okay, Arizona — good luck at your Fourth Of July parade with no masks, let us know how it goes.