7.3.20 – LITTLE ROCK (KATV)
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed an executive order that allows cities to mandate masks to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The model order, drafted by the Arkansas Municipal League, will provide a consistent approach for cities to slow the spread of the virus, the governor said in a news conference on Friday. John Wilkerson, General Counsel for the Municipal League, said there are no enforcement measures included in the order.
Little Rock and Fayetteville passed ordinances last month that require people to wear masks in public. Before Friday, the city mandates weren’t supported by the state. On Friday, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott said he was thankful for the new order.
“It is important that cities around the state have another means of helping protect the health of their residents,” Scott said in a statement. “I’m also grateful to Little Rock’s residents, visitors, and businesses that are abiding by the order. The data is clear—wearing a mask can reduce the spread of COVID-19.”
Hutchinson said on Friday that 82% of Arkansans said they are already wearing PPE in public, according to a recent survey conducted by the state.
Arkansas reported 547 new cases of COVID-19 on Friday. Two more people had died from the virus and 13 more people were hospitalized. On Thursday, Arkansas had the largest single-day increase in cases the state has seen.
On Friday, there had been 22,622 cases of coronavirus in the state; 16,164 people had recovered from the virus and 281 people had died.