City of Surprise Face Covering FAQs

In an effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, Surprise Mayor Skip Hall, with support of the Surprise City Council, issued a Declaration of Emergency Proclamation requiring face coverings within the City of Surprise with limited exceptions.

Effective Saturday, June 20, every person age two and older is required to wear a face covering while in all public settings within the City of Surprise where it is difficult to maintain a minimum physical distance of six (6) feet from others who do not live in the same residence. This includes, but is not limited to, grocery stores, retail stores, pharmacies, restaurants and bars (when not seated at a table), recreational facilities, libraries, public transportation, public places where lines or crowds form, and special events.

The action follows Governor Doug Ducey’s June 17 Executive Order, which gives cities the authority to adopt policies regarding the wearing of face coverings in public for the purpose of mitigating the spread of COVID-19. Face coverings are recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Arizona Department of Health Services as a way to protect against the spread of coronavirus.

For full details of the order, Read the Declaration of Emergency Proclamation

How does the city define a face covering?
For purposes of this Proclamation, a face covering is defined as:

  • A face mask fabricated to cover the nose and mouth
  • A cloth face covering which covers the nose and mouth and is large enough to be secured under the chin and can be secured to the head with ties, straps, loops, or bands over the ears or can be tied or looped to the back of the head
  • A bandana, scarf, or similar clothing which can be wrapped around the lower portion of the face
  • A transparent plastic safety face shield.

Face coverings shall be worn per guidance provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by covering both the mouth and nose, fitting snuggly, but also allowing the wearer to breathe easily.

When am I required to wear a face covering?
While in all public settings within the city limits of the City of Surprise where it is impracticable or difficult to maintain a minimum physical distance of six (6) feet from all other persons who aren’t from the same household.

This includes, but is not limited to, grocery stores, retail stores, pharmacies, restaurants and bars, recreation facilities, libraries, public transportation, any place of public accommodation where lines or crowds form, and special events.

Who is required to wear face coverings? Are there exceptions?
Anyone age two and older while in all public settings within the city limits of the City of Surprise where it is impracticable or difficult to maintain a minimum physical distance of six (6) feet from all other persons who aren’t from the same household.

The following persons shall NOT be required to wear a face covering:

  • Persons under the age of two (2)
  • Persons who fall under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s guidance for those who should not wear a face covering
  • Persons who are unable to wear a face covering due to a medical or mental health condition or disability as defined by the Americans with Disabilities Act, as amended
  • Persons whose religious beliefs prevent them from wearing a face covering
  • Public Safety employees, first responders, and field employees engaged in essential functions, when wearing a face covering would interfere with or limit their ability to carry out their duties or function
  • Persons complying with the directions of public safety employees

If I have a medical exemption, do I need a doctor’s note?
No, you do not need a doctor’s note or documentation of your condition.

If I am not exempt from wearing a face covering, are there instances where they aren’t required?
Face coverings are not required:

  • In a private residence
  • In a private vehicle either alone or with persons who all reside within the same residence
  • In a public setting when the only persons within six (6) feet are persons who reside within the same residence
  • During any activity in which a face covering would render the activity impossible, dangerous, or jeopardize the wearer’s health, including, but by no means limited to, eating (restaurant patrons not seated at a table must wear a face covering), drinking, swimming, dental or medical examination or treatment
  • While engaged in exercise, physical training, or athletic activity so long as physical distancing of a minimum of six (6) feet is maintained.

Maricopa County also passed a mask requirement. Which order do I follow?
The Maricopa County Board of Supervisors has issued a countywide regulation requiring face coverings in all incorporated and unincorporated areas of the County. The County’s regulation does not supersede local proclamations. However, to the extent there is conflict between the County regulation and the Surprise Proclamation, the most restrictive rule will apply and should be followed.

Do I need to wear a face covering while dining out?
Restaurant patrons not seated at a table must wear a face covering as it may be difficult to maintain six (6) feet physical distancing from others. Once you are seated, you may remove it.

Do I need to wear a face covering while exercising or taking a walk in my neighborhood?
You do not need to wear one while engaged in exercise, physical training, or athletic activity so long as physical distancing of a minimum of six (6) feet is maintained. This includes taking a walk around your neighborhood or in a large open space where it is easy to maintain physical distancing.

Do I need to wear a face covering to school?
This is not a requirement under the city order as schools are not open to the general public; admission is by enrollment. Please check with your school to see if they have their own mask policy in place.

What if I am in a vehicle with my family?
Face coverings are not required in a private vehicle either alone or with persons who all reside within the same residence.

Are businesses required to mandate face coverings?
Face coverings are required in all public settings within the City of Surprise where it is difficult to maintain a minimum physical distance of six (6) feet from others who do not live in the same residence. This includes, but is not limited to, grocery stores, retail stores, pharmacies, restaurants and bars (when not seated at a table), recreational facilities, libraries, public transportation, public places where lines or crowds form, and special events.

How will this order be enforced?
Any enforcement will focus first on educating and working to promote best practices to accomplish the goal of mitigation. Anyone who violates any provision of this Proclamation will first be provided a warning. Anyone who violates any provision of this Proclamation for a second or subsequent time shall be responsible for a civil offense with a maximum fine of $250.00 per violation. Issuance of a civil citation for violation shall be discretionary and based on the totality of the circumstances, considering any and all mitigating and aggravating factors.

When will the city’s face covering proclamation expire?
Governor Ducey’s latest Executive Order, dated June 17, 2020, allows counties, cities and towns to implement their own face covering policies with the goal of mitigating the spread of COVID-19.

In his latest order is language stating that this “order shall remain in place until further notice, and shall be considered for repeal or revision at least two weeks following issuance.”

The city of Surprise will continue to adhere to all of the Governor’s Executive Orders. The city will continue to follow his guidelines and monitor the positive COVID-19 case counts to denote when we see a slowdown in the spread. That does not come with a certain end-date, but it is something we are monitoring constantly.

Where can I get information wearing and washing face coverings?
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information on how to wear and wash cloth face coverings. They even have instructions on how to make your own!

For more information, visit: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prevent-getting-sick/diy-cloth-face-coverings.html