LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Arkansas will end its mask mandate effective today, March 30, 2021, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced on Tuesday.
The order, which required 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, was originally announced in July 2020.
In February, Hutchinson announced goals the state would need to meet in order to lift the mandate on March 31, which included statewide COVID-19 hospitalizations dropping below 750 and a positivity rate below 10 percent.
On Tuesday, the governor said the state has met those goals.
Hutchinson said that he will continue to wear his own mask when it’s appropriate, and he stressed that Arkansans should respect the decisions of businesses and organizations that continue to require masks in their facilities.
“While the mask mandate is lifted, there will be many that will continue to wear it, many businesses will continue to require it. Be respectful of that, and if you don’t want to comply with that, then you have options to go somewhere else,” Hutchinson said.
Local school districts will be allowed to make their own decision to continue, modify, or eliminate mask-wearing policies, Arkansas Education Secretary Johnny Key said.
This is a developing story.