Starting next week, not wearing a mask in Arkansas could result in $500 fine

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — The Arkansas governor is now requiring masks statewide.

The announcement was made during the daily coronavirus update Thursday.

The mandate goes into effect on July 20.

They are required in all indoor environments where they are exposed to non-household members and social distancing of more than six feet or more cannot be assured.

In regards to outdoor, they are required if there is exposure to non-household members unless there exists ample space of six feet or more to practice physical distancing.

Below is an image showing when the masks do not have to be worn.

Violation of this direct order could result in up to a $500 fine, the governor said.

According to the governor,

“First-time violators shall receive a verbal or written warning.

Violators of this order under 18-years-old of age shall only receive a verbal or written warning.

No law enforcement officer or local official may detain, arrest, or confine in jail any person for violation of this order.

This order shall not prohibit law enforcement officers or local officials from enforcing trespassing laws or other applicable laws in removing violators at the request of businesses or other property owners.”

FOX13 found most people were wearing masks anyway and didn’t seem to be bothered by the decision.

People seemed to be more concerned about the possible fines than actually wearing a mask. Some said they understand why the governor took action while others questioned it.

“It’s all political,” Greg Duvall told FOX13. “It’s an election year, a lot of smoke and mirrors going on here. I’m not saying it’s a bad thing.”

Duvall said he doesn’t mind wearing a mask but believes the governor was pressured into making it a requirement.

His biggest concern is the fine of up to $500. But police will not make any arrests.

“The virus going on, people missing work, then you gonna fine them, take money they don’t already have,” he said.

Masks are required inside and even outside if you can’t keep 6 feet away from others.

There are some exceptions to the ordinance including if you are younger than 10-years-old, have medical problems, ot are playing sports.

“We should have stayed shut down longer and really flattened the curve and taken it seriously,” Sheri Fernandez told FOX13.

Fernandez said she works in public service and thinks the fine is a good idea if it means saving a life.

“It’s really, really serious right now. You don’t want to get this and don’t want to die,” she said.

Police can’t arrest if you don’t wear a mask but they can remove you from a business or property if the owners ask them.

The governor hopes the stricter guidelines will flatten the curve in Arkansas.

According to the ordinance, a mask does not have to be worn while worshipping but it is strongly encouraged.

It’s the same at the polls. Masks are encouraged for poll watchers, voters, and others but it’s not required.

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