Arkansas has lifted its mask mandate, making everyone 16 and older eligible for COVID-19 vaccines on Tuesday.
Governor Asa Hutchinson said on Tuesday that businesses, such as restaurants and shops, will have the ability to demand masks on their property and begged residents to respect those decisions.
“Please be respectful and keep in mind that while the mandate for the mask is lifted, many will continue to wear it, and many companies will continue to demand it,” he said.
‘Be respectful of that and if you don’t want to comply with that, then you have options to go elsewhere.’
In addition, all Arkansas residents are now eligible for vaccinations. making Wyoming the only state that has not announced plans to expand access to all adults.
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson on Tuesday lifted the state’s mask mandate, announcing that all residents 16 and older are now eligible for COVID-19 vaccines. Pictured: A nurse at the Pat Walker Health Center gives a vaccination to a college patient
A total of 11 states will make vaccine available to all adults as of this week, with an average of 2.7 million getting vaccinated every day
Hutchinson first implemented the mask mandate in July 2020 after the state experienced a spate of cases.
In February, however, he said he would end the measure if Arkansas met two benchmarks: a positivity rate of less than 10 percent and less than 750 hospitalizations.
According to the Arkansas Department of Health, 164 people are currently hospitalized.
Local councils are allowed to continue the mask policy – although Hutchinson doesn’t believe most will – and so are local school districts.
Little Rock, the state capital, announced it will continue its mask mandate.
Hutchinson warned Arkansas residents not to assume that the state or country is “ out of the woods, ” and that precautions are still needed.
“We want to make sure we stay in the right direction by taking these steps,” he said.
At the same press conference, Hutchinson said Arkansas will join 10 states that have made vaccines suitable for all adults this week.
Six of those states – Kansas, Louisiana, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma and Texas – have lifted restrictions on residents 16 and older by Monday.
Minnesota removed the restrictions on Tuesday, Indiana and South Carolina on Wednesday and Connecticut on Thursday.
In addition, New York has lowered eligibility for the coronavirus vaccine for New Yorkers 30 and older as of Tuesday, and all adults are eligible on April 6.
Of the 1.6 million doses in Arkansas, 1.1 million have been administered, and the state will receive an additional 25,000 doses from the federal government this week.
“Get the vaccine, don’t wait any longer,” Hutchinson said.
As of Tuesday, 96 million Americans – 28.9% of the population – have received at least one dose and 53.4 million – or 16.1% of the population – have been fully immunized
According to the White House, 26 states have already opened or will be eligible on April 15, and 49 states, and the District of Columbia, have pledged to do so by May 1, in line with President Joe Biden’s goal.
This leaves only one state, Wyoming, which has not yet confirmed plans to expand eligibility by the May 1 deadline.
According to the CDC, 96 million Americans, 28.9 percent of the population, have received at least one dose since Tuesday.
Meanwhile, 53.4 million, or 16.1 percent of the population, are fully immunized, with an average of 2.7 million people getting vaccinated every day.