Governor Asa Hutchinson announced an executive order on Thursday, July 16 mandating the use of masks to “slow the spread of COVID-19.”
The order goes into effect on Monday, July 20. Arkansans will be required to wear a mask covering the face and nose in public areas when social distancing of six feet is not possible.
Anyone violating the order can be charged with a misdemeanor and if convicted, punishable by a fine of not less than $100, nor more than $500. First time offenders shall receive a verbal or written warning, those under age 18 will only receive a verbal or written warning. Law enforcement may NOT detain, arrest or confine in jail anyone found in violation of the order. The order will not prohibit law enforcement officers or local officials from enforcing trespassing laws or other applicable laws in removing violators at the request of business or other property owners.
- Those younger than 10
- Those with a medical condition or disability that prevents them from wearing a face covering
- Performing job duties where a six feet distance is not achievable, but a mask is inhibitory to the activity
- Consuming drink or food
- Driving alone or with passengers from the driver’s household
- Receiving services that require access to the face for security, surveillance, or other purposes may temporarily remove a face covering while receiving those services
- Voting, assisting voters, serving as poll watchers, or actively performing election administration duties; however, face coverings are strongly encouraged
- Engaged in religious worship activities; however face coverings are strongly encouraged
- Giving a speech or performance for broadcast or to an audience; however those persons shall safely distance from nearby individuals
- In counties where the Department of Health has certified that risk of community transmission of COVID-19 is low
Hutchinson stated that law enforcement officials have the authority and are encouraged to enforce the directive.