Asa Hutchinson, Governor of the State issued an Executive Order directing the Secretary of Health to issue a public health directive requiring everyone 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 in all outdoor settings where there is exposure to non-household members, unless there exists ample space of six (6) or more feet to practice physical distancing. However, there are exceptions to this mandate.
The following shall be exempt from wearing a face covering;
A. Persons younger than 10 years of age;
B. Persons with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering;
C. Persons performing job duties where six (6) feet distance is not achievable, but a mask is
inhibitory to the ability to safely and effectively perform the job duty;
D. Persons participating in athletic activities where six (6) feet distance is not achievable,
but a mask is inhibitory to the activity;
E. Persons consuming food or drink;
F. Persons driving alone or with passengers from the driver's household;
G. Persons receiving services that require access to the face for security, surveillance, or
other purposes may temporarily remove a face covering while receiving those services;
H. Persons voting, assisting voters, serving as poll watchers, or actively performing election administration duties; however, face coverings are strongly encouraged;
I. Persons engaged in religious worship activities; however, face coverings are strongly encouraged;
J. Persons giving a speech or performance for broadcast or to an audience; however, those persons shall safely distance from nearby individuals;
K. Persons in counties where the Department of Health has certified that risk of community transmission of COVID-19 is low. To be considered low risk, the county must not have a newly identified case of COVID-19 for twenty-eight (28) consecutive days, assuming there has been adequate testing in the county.
The order states that people violating the mandate can be cited and fined from $100.00 up to $500.00. However, first time offenders shall receive a warning. Violators under 18 shall not be cited but only receive warnings.
Sheriff Jack Yancey's Statement: Most all credible medical people including our County Health Officer Doctor Adam Gray agree that the wearing of face coverings helps reduce the spread of COVID-19. The masks do not necessarily protect the person wearing it but does help protect other people.
I personally dislike wearing a face covering. They are uncomfortable and just generally disagreeable. However, I wear them, not because I think they protect me but out of respect and concern for my fellow citizens. If there is only a slight chance that my wearing a mask prevents someone from getting sick, I would consider my discomfort to be a small price. I very much hope that the people of Izard County show up Monday morning willing to make a small sacrifice, for the greater good. You may see people in public not wearing a mask that have a legitimate exempted reason not to. Please keep that in mind. We do not want to cite people for this mandate. I am hopeful that everyone cooperates with this effort to defeat COVID-19.