Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan / Courtesy photo
A Fayetteville law requiring face coverings in public places of accommodation will remain in effect despite the statewide mask mandate being lifted by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.
City officials issued the reminder Tuesday afternoon, just hours after the governor’s announcement that the state law had been lifted effective immediately.
Hutchinson had previously said he would lift the mask mandate if the combined PCR and antigen test positivity rate in Arkansas was below 10% with at least an average of 7,500 tests per day. Testing recently fell below that threshold, he said, in part due to decreased demand, so the criteria moved to the total number of hospitalizations in the state. The governor had previously set 750 Arkansans in hospitals as the number the state would need to be below to remove the mandate, and there are currently 170 Arkansans hospitalized across the state.
When asked about local laws on Tuesday, Hutchinson said removal of the statewide mandate would allow room for local municipalities to establish their own mask requirements should they choose to do so.
Under the Fayetteville mask ordinance, businesses are required to provide disposable face masks to any member of the public seeking entry to that business, and they are required to deny entry to any member of the public who refuses to wear a face mask.
If an individual does not comply with the denial of entry, businesses may call the business support hotline established in June 2020 for assistance at 479-575-0258. The business support hotline is a non-emergency police dispatch phone line that is monitored 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The local law also provides businesses with access to disposable masks at no cost. Masks are available from Fire Station #1 at 303 W. Center Street in Fayetteville, Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
The Fayetteville law specifies that the City Council can vote to lift the city mask mandate once the governor’s emergency declaration ends. Gov. Hutchison on Tuesday extended the declaration for another 60 days.
At least three other cities in Arkansas will continue to keep a mask ordinance in place, including Little Rock, North Little Rock, and Rogers.