Sulphur Springs mayor says city won’t follow state-wide mask mandate

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SULPHUR SPRINGS, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — While Governor Asa Hutchinson’s state-wide mask mandate begins Monday, some Northwest Arkansas cities have chosen not to follow it.

In the town of Sulphur Springs, it’s pretty quiet.

But, its mayor has been pretty vocal about how he feels on requiring masks.

“My officers, officers anywhere have a bigger job to do than going and babysitting someone about whether their wearing a mask or not,” said Mayor Shane Weber.

Weber made that statement in early July when it was up to individual cities to pass mask ordinances.

Now that Arkansas has a statewide mask mandate, he said his position hasn’t changed and there will be no penalty or fines issued for not wearing a mask in the city.

Local business owner Shirley Barber said if the police department won’t enforce mask wearing, she will.

“I always try to support our mayor especially, but we’re choosing to for ourselves, for our business, that we are requiring them,” said Barber.

Barber said on a normal day, her auction house in Sulphur Springs is filled with hundreds of people.

“If we have a large auction, we usually double the population,” she said.

But with the number of COVID-19 cases rising in Arkansas, she isn’t taking any chances.

“We don’t let anyone in the auction house,” Barber said. “If they need to come in, they need to wear a mask.”

With the nature of her business, Barber said she’s had to get creative in getting these unique items into the hands of the community.

“Everything stays outside. They come and pay at the window outside and we bring it to them,” she said.

While masking up is taking a step in the right direction, Barber said she won’t be changing the way she does things anytime soon.

Barber said, “Until the governor says 250 people with no social distancing, I think we’re going to be this way for a long time.”

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