Gov. Hutchinson lifts masks mandate in Ark., opens vaccine eligibility to everyone 16+

Gov. Hutchinson lifts masks mandate in Ark., opens vaccine eligibility to everyone 16+
Asa Hutchinson is the 46th governor of the State of Arkansas. (Source: governor.arkansas.gov)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KSLA) - Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson held his weekly COVID-19 briefing Tuesday, March 30 at 1:30 p.m.

The governor lifted the state’s mask mandate, effective Tuesday, March 30 after meeting various health criteria involving testing and case rates. However, the governor encouraged everyone to continue to wear masks out of respect for one another.

Despite the mandate being lifted, private businesses such as restaurants, hotels, stores, salons, etc. can continue to enforce the policy if they choose. School districts are being allowed to make an independent decision about continuing the mask mandate. Schools will be required to present a plan about whether or not they are keeping the mask mandate in place.

“I’ve talked to a number of restaurant owners who will continue requiring masks within their restaurant for the safety of their employees and patrons,” Gov. Hutchinson said. “Please be respectful and mindful that, while the mask mandate has been lifted, many businesses will continue to require it.”

All those in Arkansas ages 16 and above are also now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the governor announced Tuesday.

“We want Arkansans to get vaccinated because it is our path out of the pandemic. It is the way to get there quicker, and we want to ensure we give every Arkansan that opportunity,” Gov. Hutchinson said.

Gov. Hutchinson urged everyone to not let their guard down as more contagious variants of the virus continue to spread. While there is light at the end of the tunnel, he said now is not the time to let up. He encouraged everyone to get the vaccine as soon as possible.

[COVID-19: ArkLaTex info hub]

Watch the full briefing below.

FULL VIDEO: Gov. Asa Hutchinson holds weekly COVID-19 briefing - March 30, 2021

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