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It looks like Greenlee County residents will have to wear face coverings in public at least through Oct. 20.

During a June 30 meeting, in a 2-1 vote, the Greenlee County Board of Supervisors approved a countywide mandate requiring face coverings for anyone age six and up “inside the enclosed area of any place of public accommodation.”

On Tuesday, board members David Gomez and Ron Campbell voted to extend the mandate until their next meeting Oct. 20 when they’ll review it again. Supervisor Richard Lunt voted against the mandate back in June and against the extension.

The board voted after County Administrator Derek Rapier read letters in support of the extension written by Dr. Fred Fox; Freeport McMoRan Vice President-Medical Director Dr. Richard Vinroot and representatives from Gila Health Resources. All attributed the fact Greenlee County hasn’t had a positive COVID-19 test result since Aug. 6 to the mask mandate. They further cited numerous studies showing masks work to slow the spread of the virus.

Rapier also read a letter from Morenci resident Alek Miller, who asked several questions, including “How can we be confident our policies are working when we can’t be confident of the data that informs our decision to enact these policies?”

In other action:

The board also voted to cancel elections in the following special districts: Blue Elementary School District, Duncan Unified School District, Morenci Unified School District, Eagle Elementary School District, Duncan GIFT and Duncan Valley Rural Fire District. In each case, either no one threw their hat in the ring or the number of people who are running match the number of open seats.

The board followed up by then appointing Barbara Marks to the Blue school board, Steve Leyba to Morenci’s school board, Kimberly Waters to the Duncan GIFT position and Twig and Shirley Winkel to the Eagle school board.

Since no one ran for the three open Duncan school board seats, Greenlee County Schools Superintendent Bryan Boling will appoint people to those positions.

In addition, the board ratified Rapier’s decision to apply for a USDA Rural Development grant, that if awarded and accepted, would give the county $25,000-$40,000 to purchase a drone and a mobile GPS base. Such equipment would help with such things as geographic information system mapping and addressing, Rapier said. The grant would require a 25 percent match by the county.

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