LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Governor Asa Hutchinson announced he would issue a mask mandate in Arkansas, effective next Monday, at his daily press conference on Thursday.
Hutchinson said he believes the move is necessary now due to rising numbers of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations and in light of schools reopening this fall.
“I have listened to the doctors and nurses that are on the front lines of this fight against COVID-19, and they ask the public to do more,” Hutchinson said.
Some cities in Arkansas, such as Fayetteville, had already issued mask mandates for their city.
Gov. Hutchinson said that if kids are going to be required to wear face coverings in school this fall, adults must “help them to be ready to set the right example for them.”
The order will require every person in Arkansas to wear a face covering of the mouth and nose in all indoor and outdoor environments where there is exposure to non-household members and social distancing cannot be assured.
Children under 10 years old are exempt from the order.
A violation of the executive order is a misdemeanor offense punishable by a fine of between $100-500. Law enforcement and local officials are encouraged to give first-time violators a warning.
No law enforcement officer or local officials may arrest, detain, or jail an individual for violating the mask mandate.
The governor said he would sign an executive order later this afternoon.