Arkansas Judge Blocks Statewide Ban On Mask Mandates
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Sunday he'd made an error signing an April bill that banned mask mandates, and on Friday a judge temporarily halted the law. On Thursday, Arkansas was reported to have only 36 intensive care beds free. News outlets report on other mask rules elsewhere.
Arkansas Judge Blocks State From Enforcing Mask Mandate Ban
A judge on Friday temporarily blocked Arkansas from enforcing its ban on mask mandates signed into law by Gov. Asa Hutchinson in April. The ban was being challenged by two lawsuits, including one from an east Arkansas school district where more than 900 staff and students are quarantining because of a coronavirus outbreak. Pediatricians and health officials have said masks in schools are needed to protect children, as the delta variant and Arkansas’ low vaccination rate fuel the state’s spiraling cases. The state on Monday reported its biggest one-day increase in COVID-19 hospitalizations since the pandemic began, and the Department of Health on Thursday said only 36 intensive care unit beds were available in the state. (Vargas and Yancey-Bragg, 8/6)
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson Says He Changed Mind On Mask Law Because "Facts Change"
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said Sunday he changed his mind about a bill he signed in April to ban mask mandates across the state because "facts change," and admitted that signing it at a time when COVID-19 cases were low in his state was "an error." (Poindexter, 8/8)
In other updates on mask mandates —
Amazon Revives Mask Mandate For Warehouse Workers
Amazon.com Inc. is ordering frontline U.S. employees to resume wearing masks at work regardless of vaccination status, joining the ranks of companies ramping up precautions in response to the spread of the Covid-19 delta variant. The world’s largest online retailer said in a notice to employees on Friday that workers in its warehouses and other logistics depots in the U.S. must resume wearing masks beginning on Monday. (Day, 8/6)
Weary US Businesses Confront New Round Of Mask Mandates
Businesses large and small, from McDonald’s and Home Depot to local yoga studios, are reinstituting mask mandates as U.S. coronavirus cases rise. Bars, gyms and restaurants across the country are requiring vaccines to get inside. After a largely mask-free summer, it’s a reversal no one wanted to see, brought on by the fast-spreading delta variant and new guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. But business owners and workers say they will do what they can to keep their doors open and not slow the economic gains of the last few months. (Durbin, 8/8)
Facing COVID-19 Wave, Some Oklahoma Tribes Reinstate Mask Mandates
The Pawnee Nation has hosted a children’s summer camp as long as Mike Ortiz can remember. He decided last week to cancel the camp for the second straight year amid a resurgence of COVID-19 infections in Pawnee County and across Oklahoma. “We don’t want to be a hindrance health-wise,” said Ortiz, who noted the back-to-school camp is for children between the ages of 6 and 18, meaning half cannot yet receive COVID-19 vaccines. (Young, 8/9)