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Starting Friday at 5 p.m., Clifton residents will be required to wear face masks in public places where they can't keep a six-foot distance from other people.

A proclamation on mask-wearing and other measures to slow the spread of COVID-19 was dated today and signed by Mayor Luis Montoya.

"We have been extremely concerned with the data that has been provided," said Montoya. "On May 31 we had six positive cases; now we have 16. We need to do everything we can to flatten the curve and minimize transmission."

The proclamation requires everyone over age 5 to wear a face covering in public when social distancing isn't possible. It covers retail and grocery stores, pharmacies, healthcare facilities, restaurants and bars, gyms "and any other places where the public is allowed to enter."

It also extends to outdoor areas like playgrounds, parking lots and places where people stand in line to enter a business, as well as to taxis and ride-share vehicles.

Exceptions include anyone working alone in a personal office, unless a client or customer enters the office; children under five; and anyone who can't wear a mask because of a medical or mental health condition, a developmental disability or an inability to remove a mask without help.

According to the proclamation, enforcement will focus first on education and working to mitigate the virus' spread. Before a citation is issued, people or businesses will be given a chance to follow the guidelines or explain if they fall under an exception.

In the document, Montoya strongly advised businesses to have employees work from home as much as possible.

Montoya said the proclamation would have no ending date but could be rescinded at any time if it caused serious problems or if COVID-19 declined.

The Greenlee County Board of Supervisors and Duncan Town Council will meet tomorrow to discuss the issue of adopting mask-wearing policies.

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