Arkansas GOP governor wishes he didn't OK ban on mask mandates
Arkansas Republican governor Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday he wished he hadn't signed a mask mandate ban earlier this year as the country grapples with a spate of coronavirus cases.
In late April, the governor approved a ban on both state and local face-masking requirements that went into effect towards the end of July. The law does not prohibit companies from prescribing masks and does not apply to state-controlled health facilities, prisons, or other facilities operated by the Arkansas Youth Services Department.
When asked by a reporter this week whether or not he regretted his decision to sign the law, Hutchinson admitted that he thought it was not a good idea.
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"I signed it because our cases were at rock bottom," he said. "Everything has changed now, and yes, in retrospect, I wish it hadn't become the law, but it's the law and the only chance." We either have to change it or tell the courts that it is unconstitutional. "
Last Thursday, Hutchinson re-imposed a state health emergency and convened a special session to change the mask mandate ban to allow more flexibility in public schools. The governor cited a lack of Food and Drug Administration approval for the use of vaccines in children under the age of 12.
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Over the past 14 days, Arkansas has seen a 69% increase in cases, a 52% increase in hospital admissions, and a 246% increase in deaths. The state has one of the lowest vaccination rates in the country, with 39% of residents fully vaccinated while 47% received at least one dose.
Local governments, corporations, and other agencies have rushed to reintroduce mask mandates and vaccine shutdowns in response to a surge in the Delta variant. In one of the most drastic steps, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Tuesday that restaurants and gyms will require vaccination documents in the districts under the Key to NYC Pass, which will be introduced on August 16.
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Tags: news, arkansas, asa hutchinson, coronavirus, face masks, vaccination
Original author: Jake Dima
Original location: Arkansas GOP governor wishes he hadn't fixed mask mandate ban
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46th and current Governor of Arkansas
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