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What you need to know about Arkansas’s mask mandate

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced face coverings will be required statewide, starting July 20, to help prevent further spread of the coronavirus.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Starting Monday, July 20, a statewide mask mandate takes effect as our battle against COVID-19 continues.

The governor cited several reasons for the mandate; the first reason being the increase of positive COVID-19 cases, hospitalizations, and deaths. He said the numbers indicate that we need to do more.

The Secretary of Health shall issue a public health directive requiring every person in Arkansas to wear a face covering over the mouth and nose:

In all indoor environments where:

  • they are exposed to non-household members and
  • distancing of six (6) feet or more cannot be assured and

In all outdoor settings where:

  • there is exposure to non-household members, unless there exists ample space of six (6) feet or more to practice physical distancing

RELATED: Gov. Hutchinson says wearing masks to prevent COVID-19 'shouldn't be about politics'

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Who is exempt from the statewide mandate?

  • Children younger than 10 years old
  • People with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering. 
  • People who are performing job duties where a six-feet distance is not possible, but a mask is “inhibitory to the activity”. 
  • People who are consuming food or drink will not have to wear a mask at that time. 
  • People who are driving alone or with passengers from the same household will not have to wear a mask at that time. 
  • Someone receiving services that require seeing a face for security, surveillance or other purposes may temporarily remove their face covering while receiving the service. 
  • People who are voting, assisting voters, being a poll watch or performing election administration duties are not required to wear a face covering, but face coverings are strongly encouraged. 
  • People who are engaged in religious worship activities are not mandated to wear a mask, but face coverings are strongly encouraged. 
  • People who are either giving a speech for a performance or a broadcast to an audience will not have to wear a face covering, but they should safely distance. 
  • Counties where the Arkansas Department of Health has certified that the risk of community transmission of COVID-19 is low.

Violation of a directive from the Secretary of Health during this public health emergency is considered a: 

  • misdemeanor offense
  • punishable by a fine of no less than $100, but no more than $500

First time violators will receive a verbal or written warning. If under the age of 18, violators will only receive this type of punishment.

No one will be arrested or detained in violation of the order. However, the order will not prohibit law enforcement or officials from enforcing trespassing laws or other applicable laws in removing violators at the request of a business or property owner.

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