EMERGENCY DECLARATION TO EXPIRE— Arkansas' governor says he won't seek another extension of the emergency he declared because of the coronavirus pandemic, allowing it to expire at the end of the month. Governor Asa Hutchinson on Thursday said the declaration that he first issued in March 2020 because of the pandemic will expire on May 30.
"It's important to understand that we're still in a pandemic," Hutchinson said. "The fact that I'm ending the declaration of a public health emergency does not change the fact that we still have the Covid-19 virus in our community, it does not change the fact that our public health system has to deal with it."
The Republican governor had previously lifted restrictions he had issued because of the virus, including its statewide mask mandate, and a new law expanded the Legislature's power to end the emergency. Hutchinson did stress that while he’s lifting the emergency order – people should still get vaccinated against Covid-19. He also announced a new ad campaign to encourage people to do so.