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Virus surge forces Arizona gov’s hand on masks

PHOENIX (AP) — After telling Arizonans that many public places were again being closed amid a surge of coronavirus cases, Gov. Doug Ducey ended a somewhat contentious news conference by imploring people to wear face masks.

“Arm yourself with a mask,” he said Monday after issuing an executive order to shut down bars, night clubs and water parks while pushing back the start of school in the fall. “It’s your best defense against this virus.”

While the Republican governor has never discouraged the use of masks, his full-throated endorsement of them was a big change from a largely lukewarm stance the last few months.

“There are some people that can’t wear masks for whatever reason, shortness of breath or they are asthmatic,” Ducey said June 13 when asked why he wouldn’t mandate the use of them.

The change in tone on masks and a return to restrictions are the latest

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