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Arkansas cities encourage face masks

by Arkansas Democrat-Gazette | July 9, 2020 at 4:48 p.m. | Updated July 15, 2020 at 2:05 p.m.
Donors check their phones as they wait their turn during a blood drive at the Boone Fitzpatrick Fieldhouse at Little Rock Central High School on Tuesday, July 7, 2020. The blood drive also offered donors a free COVID-19 antibody test in the effort to get 100 units of blood donated for the day. (Arkansas Democrat-Gazette / Stephen Swofford)

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on July 3 issued an executive order allowing cities to adopt some requirements for people to wear masks in public places in order to slow the spread of covid-19. According to a model ordinance attached to the order, cities can require the use of face coverings "according to [state Department of Health] guidelines."

Here are the Arkansas cities that have passed measures requiring or encouraging face masks:

Conway – The Conway City Council on July 7 unanimously approved an ordinance that asks that masks to be worn in businesses, though police will not have the power to enforce the order.

Fayetteville – Residents are required to wear masks in most indoor public places after a City Council vote June 16. They won’t be subject to penalties for not wearing masks, but may be denied entry to businesses. Businesses that “willfully neglect” the ordinance could be cited and fined up to $500.

Fort Smith – The Fort Smith Board of Directors unanimously approved a resolution July 7 that encourages residents to wear face masks.

Hot Springs – The Hot Springs Board of Directors unanimously approved an ordinance July 7 that encourages mask-wearing and allows the use of law enforcement to support businesses where individuals refuse to wear a mask.

Little Rock – Masks or other face coverings are strongly encouraged in public spaces in Little Rock where 6 feet of social distancing cannot be maintained, according to City Attorney Tom Carpenter and an executive order signed June 25 by Mayor Frank Scott Jr.

Maumelle – The city of Maumelle adopted a resolution July 6 that “strongly encourages” the use of masks, but stopped short of a mandate due to concerns voiced by council members.

North Little Rock – The North Little Rock City Council unanimously approved on July 13 an ordinance that states the city requires the use of facial covering. There are no penalties attached to the ordinance, but it allows businesses to call the police if a customer is failing to abide by the regulations. The ordinance went into effect July 15.

Rogers – The Rogers City Council unanimously passed an ordinance July 6 requiring anti-coronavirus masks at many businesses. The ordinance carries no civil or criminal penalty, but repeated violations can be met with legal action.

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