Little Rock mayor imposes mask mandate in all public spaces, declares COVID-19 state of emergency

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LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott, Jr. has re-imposed a mask mandate in all public places within the city of Little Rock, effective immediately.

The mayor made the announcement Thursday despite a state law that bans city governments in Arkansas from issuing mask mandates.

The mask mandate requires anyone in a city-owned building or city property to wear a face covering. Technically, the order includes streets and sidewalks but masks will only be enforced in public indoor spaces.

The order does not include privately-owned businesses but the mayor said he is aware of some Little Rock businesses that encourage masks and that all other businesses should follow suit.

When asked about the state law banning mask mandates, he said that he has no concerns. He said now is the time to issue the mask mandate due to rising COVID-19 cases.

The Arkansas Department of Health reported Wednesday that the number of active cases is more than 20,000, which is the highest number of active cases since January.

The mayor said the declaration will last until August 31.

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