Asa: Mask mandate ends immediately; vaccinations open to all 16 and up


Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the state will end the mask mandate, effective immediately.

The governor made the announcement Tuesday afternoon at the weekly statewide coronavirus briefing. Hutchinson told reporters that the state has met certain public health criteria that would enable the end of the mandate. (See below.)

Hutchinson said despite the mandate’s lift, it’s important to respect businesses and organizations in Arkansas that might still require masks. (See examples below.) The governor also said local school districts will decide whether to continue, modify, or eliminate mask-wearing policies. He noted mask-wearing should still be part of Arkansans’ day-to-day lives for the foreseeable future, stressing the importance of respecting the decision of those who still wish to wear masks and those businesses or organizations that might want to continue the practice.

Hutchinson also said the state is opening up COVID-19 vaccinations to everyone 16 years old and up. The governor noted Arkansas will be receiving more shipments of vaccines this week, and despite declining coronavirus numbers, all Arkansans eligible for vaccination should have one as soon as possible.

“Get the vaccine. Don’t delay. Get the vaccine,” Hutchinson said.

State health officials noted approximately 769,000 individuals (25.6 percent of the state’s population) have received at least one vaccine dose while 408,000 (13.6 percent) have received two doses.

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