The City of Little Rock’s mask mandate is coming to an end on May 15.
Mayor Frank Scott Jr. announced that the city is terminating its mask mandate, effective Saturday, May 15. He cited new guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and a new Arkansas law that will prohibit local mask mandates as the motivations behind the decision to terminate the mandate.
While the City is terminating the mandate, Scott noted that private businesses, hospitals, healthcare facilities, nonprofits and places of worship will be allowed to require face coverings if they choose. These organizations and entities can also require employees to wear face coverings.
Scott also noted that most City of Little Rock facilities would continue to require face coverings. “People entering City of Little Rock facilities, with the exception of our parks and other outdoor spaces, will still be required to wear a face covering, and we strongly encourage residents to continue wearing face coverings in public until we reach the desired vaccination rate in our city, as outlined by healthcare professionals,” he said in a statement.
Little Rock has maintained a mask mandate since the State of Arkansas dropped the statewide mask mandate in late March. Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced the end of the statewide mandate on Tuesday, March 30, but Scott announced via social media that the capital city would continue its mandate for at least another 30 days.
The Little Rock mask mandate had been extended through August 31. In April, the Little Rock City Board of Directors voted to extend the COVID-19 emergency declaration for four months with a review of the emergency every 30 days.
On Thursday, April 29, Hutchinson signed into law legislation that will prohibit both state and local mask mandates. This law will not prevent businesses or private organizations from enforcing mask requirements on their property, however.
The CDC released new guidance this week, stating that for fully vaccinated individuals, it is not necessary to wear a mask or maintain a six-foot social distancing barrier.