Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson says ‘common sense will replace mandates’ as he allows mask orders to expire at end of March – becoming the seventh state to lift mask requirements since issuing them last year
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson is allowing his state’s mask orders to expire at the end of March, claiming citizens’ ‘common sense’ will replace coronavirus-related mandates.
‘I expect, even though we take the mask mandate away that people will continue to use the mask when you cannot socially distance and whenever there’s the risk of the virus,’ Hutchinson told CNN‘s ‘State of the Union’ on Sunday morning.
He added: ‘So common sense is going to replace mandates.’
The governor argued that the public has been educated on the virus over the last year and has the ability to make their own decisions regarding health, including whether to mask up.
In July 2020, Hutchinson issued mask mandates requiring all those 10 and older to wear a face covering in public where social distancing is not possible. The current mandate is still in effect.
Hutchinson previously said – and reiterated Sunday – that he would allow the mandate to expire on March 31 if positive COVID-19 test rates continue to decrease and hospitalizations drop below certain levels.
Arkansas Gov.Asa Hutchinson (right) said ‘common sense is going to replace mandates’ as he commits to allowing his state’s mask requirements to expire at the end of March
At the end of March, Arkansas will become the seventh state to end mask mandates.
So far, Iowa, Mississippi, Montana, North Dakota, Texas and Wyoming have already lifted their requirements for public mask wearing.
Earlier this month, President Joe Biden called Texas and Mississippi lifting their orders ‘neanderthal thinking.’
Alabama could become the eighth state to join the list as Governor Kay Ivey has set an April expiration date for her state’s mask order.
‘It’s not going to take away from the seriousness of the virus and we’ve got to continue to pay attention,’ Hutchinson said of lifting mask mandates state-wide in Arkansas.
‘Even though we take away the mask mandate, we’re still going to make sure that we do everything that we can to protect ourselves and others and recognize the virus is still there,’ he continued.
As of Sunday, 29.78 million Americans have contracted COVID-19 and nearly 542,000 have died country-wide after contracting the virus.
Restrictions are lifting all over the country – including relaxing restrictions on masks, social distancing, restaurant and establishment capacity and public gatherings.