Hutchinson OKs ban on local, state mask mandates

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FILE – In this April 27, 2020 file photo, Gov. Asa Hutchinson takes off his Arkansas Razorbacks facemark as he arrives for the daily coronavirus briefing at the state Capitol in Little Rock. Hutchinson issued the order Thursday, July, 16, 2020, effective Monday, July 20, requiring people to wear masks in public throughout the state, which is dealing with a surge in coronavirus cases. The governor issued the order after weeks of resisting such a requirement. (Staton Breidenthal/Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP, File)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law legislation that bans state or local mask mandates for preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

However, the prohibition enacted Thursday won’t take effect until late July.

The Republican governor last month dropped the state’s requirement, but cities such as Fayetteville and Little Rock were allowed to keep their requirements in place.

The mask mandate prohibition won’t apply to private businesses and includes other exceptions, including hospitals owned or controlled by the state.

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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