Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R) said Tuesday he regretted the signing of a ban preventing state and local governments from implementing mask mandates. The walkback comes as Arkansas sees one of the worst spikes in COVID-19 cases in the country and infections spike in children under 12 who cannot get vaccinated, Newsweek and Little Rocks report THV 11.
Hutchinson said he put Law 1002 into effect a few months ago because “cases were at a rock bottom” and he “knew lawmakers would override it” if he didn’t. But “now everything has changed, and yes, in retrospect I wish it hadn’t become law.”
Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) says he regrets signing a law to ban local mask mandates as COVID cases rise rapidly in his state, school districts are said to introduce masking requirements. pic.twitter.com/sj1Q8ukLCA
– The recount (@therecount) August 4, 2021
Now the governor has asked the General Assembly to amend the law so that local school districts with students under the age of 12 can implement masking requirements if they wish. Hutchinson said he was still not in favor of a nationwide mask mandate.
When asked why the amendment he supported didn’t include schools with students over the age of 12, Hutchinson replied, “Because there is a cure for them. They need to be vaccinated.”
See more below: