Journalists’ Roundtable: 3-5-21: Ducey executive order, House mask bill, Vaccines, AZ voting.
March 5, 2021
This week’s Journalists’ Roundtable discusses Governor Ducey’s executive orders to re-open schools and lift some covid restrictions. Guest host Rick DeBruhl spoke to Jeremy Duda from the Arizona Mirror and Maria Polletta from the Arizona Republic.
This weeks Journalists’ Roundtable covered:
- Ducey Executive Order for schools to open by March 15
- House passes bill allowing business to ignore mask bill.
- 55-year-olds sign up – booked up in minutes
- Gila County gives vaccine to anyone
- Ducey gets vaccine
- Maricopa County Ballot problem
- US Supreme Court hears AZ voting case
Ducey issues executive order for schools to open by March 15
Maria Polletta: “Sure, so this surprise announcement came today there has been rumblings wondering if he was going to follow suit of course Texas Governor Greg Abbot had lifted mask mandate earlier in the week we don’t have a State wide mask mandate to lift but we were wondering if we were going to see some relaxing easing of restrictions and that’s exactly what we saw today primarily affecting businesses so the governor essentially you know he was sighting the expanded vaccine availability these I think seven weeks Um, of declines in Covid case numbers and basically said you know, I still, everything regarding mask and social distancing that’s happening at a local level still applies but I am allowing capacity restrictions on bars, restaurants, gyms, etc… to expire going forward.”
Jeremy Duda: “Well we’ve seen uh as Maria mentioned declining cases for I think seven weeks now, is what the governor cited we’ve got um, the governor pointed out that we got 2 million doses of the Covid vaccines uhh given it out so far, so Arizona like the rest of the country been seeing you know we passed the peak of this winter spike things have been going down consistently for a couple of months now and that’s really kind of opening the door for you know folks in Arizona and nationwide to lift some of these restrictions, this comes just two days after the governor ordered most of The public schools to re-open for in person instruction by March 15th this is something you know an issue he’s been pretty big on for a few months now you remember when he mentioned it in the state of the state address that he wanted to see you know kids back in the classrooms so we’re seeing kind of a trend here as these numbers continue to go down as the case numbers and hospitalizations continue to go down and as the vaccinations continue to go up we’re seeing kind of a gradual and consistent lifting of a lot of these restrictions that went into place last year.”
House passes bill allowing business to ignore mask bill.
Jeremy Duda: “Well first we have to see what happens with that we’ve seen a lot of legislation this year propose that would scale back the governors emergency Powers or other um other kind of restrictions that been put in place to deal with the pandemic um you know this particular bill with the ah businesses and the face mask mandates you know not requiring to enforce basically means businesses not having to abide by these uh requirements I think something that is interesting is that The governors executive order today he did not uh do anything that changes these local mask mandates and it makes something makes me wonder whether he’s going to be open to this idea that would permanently bar these kind of mandates.”
Maria Polletta: “Sure I mean in is roll out of the loosening of the restrictions today he Took another dig at Local you know local municipalities saying that he would continue to not allow them to take overly extreme measures but I do think this has by leaving it to cities and county governments that’s allowed the governor to continue on with this you know personal responsibility, um mantra that he’s had throughout the pandemic um you know basically saying that as long as we have people using masks, people being responsible for themselves not doing anything too stupid not cramming into bars and so forth considering to social distance we are on our way out of this pandemic but that actually requires Arizonans to do those things.”