LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. announced last night that the city mask mandate would end today.
However, there are many exceptions. The city intends to still require masks inside its buildings. Private entities are still free to impose mask rules as they choose. Some will; some won’t, as these items illustrate.
Several major chains, including Target, Home Depot and grocer Kroger Co., announced that they would keep mask mandates in place for now. https://t.co/t2I9hl5Vxy
Trader Joe’s says it is following new CDC guidance in its new mask rules and that customers won’t be asked to prove they’ve been vaccinated. https://t.co/a86RU6xqhw
Scott’s statement said:
“Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, we have relied on data and guidance from local
healthcare professionals and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) for the public health decisions impacting our residents. The City of Little Rock is also subject to the new state law which will prohibit mask mandates by local governments in the coming weeks.
“In light of this new law and the most recent CDC recommendations regarding vaccinated people no longer needing to wear masks, Little Rock is terminating its mask mandate. Effective Saturday, May 15, 2021, the City of Little Rock is no longer requiring face coverings be worn. However, private entities, hospitals and other healthcare facilities, non- profits, and places of worship may require their patrons and employees to wear masks or other face coverings to protect themselves and their customers.
“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.
“My administration will continue to focus on a swift and equitable distribution of vaccines for all those who need it as we work to ensure the health and safety of our neighbors.
“I appreciate the continued efforts of Little Rock’s healthcare community, businesses, and residents who have made the necessary sacrifices and adjustments to keep us all safe over the past fourteen months. Together, we have saved lives and kept each other well; we should be proud of the steps taken collectively to protect our city’s health.”
The announcement of the first Simmons Arena show in a year is another sign of normalcy.
Fans will officially be welcomed back on June 4, when the “In Real Life Comedy Tour,” hosted by Mike Epps, comes to North Little Rock. https://t.co/JAQ72HekND
But some hesitancy seems in order. Maybe from news of vaccinated people contracting the virus (and thus being able to pass it along to the unvaccinated). Also from news around the world — be it India, Nepal or Taiwan — of spiking cases.
I expect the cautious will continue to be careful. For example:
Folks have invested in masks.
Masks protect folks from more than just covid.
Some of us still live with unvaccinated people, children, or immunocompromised loved ones.
The pandemic is still spreading.
Arkansas will not achieve herd immunity this year.