Arkansas Governor's Mask Mandate Goes In Effect Monday

Jul 20, 2020

COVID-19 TRENDING IN ARKANSAS - Governor Asa Hutchinson referring to a graphic indicating increase in Covid-19 hospitalizations during a recent press conference.
Credit Courtesy: Office of the Governor, State of Ark.

ARKANSAS MASK MANDATE - Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says that wearing masks to help stop the spread of the coronavirus shouldn’t be about politics.  Hutchinson has issued a statewide Mask-wearing mandate for Arkansas that goes in effect beginning today.  Hutchinson had resisted following other Governors who had issued state mask mandates but during an appearance  Sunday  on  ABC television’s  “This Week”,  Hutchinson explained his mandate was motivated by the increasing Covid-19 numbers in his state.

It's not popular. It's not something we want to do," Hutchinson said. "It's not the first lever we pull. But it is one that, when the data says it's necessary, we do it."

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson explaining his mask mandate during a Covid-19 update on July 16, 2020.
Credit Courtesy: Office of the Governor, State of Ark.

When Hutchinson was asked whether President Donald Trump was sending out mixed messages on wearing masks, he replied:  "We need to wear a mask. That example needs to be set by our national leadership."

President Trump has rarely worn a face covering in public, he had donned a mask during a recent visit to a military hospital on July 11th.   Governor Hutchison did say that while he was reluctant to issue a mask-mandate, he felt wearing masks could help reduce the Covid-19 spread.

"Not something I wanted to do, but it's something everybody can do to relieve the pressure on our hospitals, to give us a hope to bring down those cases," explained Hutchinson.

Credit Courtesy: Office of the Governor, State of Ark.

Governor Hutchinson’s mask mandate  carries  the  weight of law, with violators subject to misdemeanor charges and a fine of between $100 and $500. As to enforcement of the Governor’s Mask Mandate -- In a statement released Sunday evening, El Dorado, Arkansas Police Chief Kenny Hickman said the EPD will not enforce Governor Hutchinson's executive order.