Arkansas Governor Regrets Signing Mask Ban

Governor Asa Hutchinson is concerned about rising COVID-19 cases.

Governor Asa Hutchinson is concerned about rising COVID-19 cases.

During a media briefing yesterday, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson expressed remorse for signing a bill into law that prevents state and local authorities from enacting any kind of face mask mandate.

“I knew that it would be overridden by the legislature if I didn’t sign it,” he said. “I had already eliminated our statewide mask mandate.”

Hutchinson signed the bill when COVID-19 cases were on the downturn, but due to the spread of the delta variant, cases in Arkansas are surging once again. Only about 37% of Arkansas residents are fully vaccinated, which has contributed to the 1,911 new cases reported on Sunday, a massive leap from the mere 475 cases seen at the start of July.

At the moment, the only way to rescind the mask ban is for legislature to amend it or for the courts to halt it. “If it’s up to the courts, and the courts strike down that law as unconstitutional, that could mean we could have counties and cities all doing their thing,” Hutchinson said. “That would be confusing. It would be bad for business. It would be bad for the public understanding and our concentration on vaccinations.”

In lieu of masks, Hutchinson has requested everyone who is able to get vaccinated do so as soon as possible.

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