Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said he regrets signing a law that blocked mask mandates as the state faces a rise in COVID-19 cases and low vaccination rates.
“Well, I signed it at the time because our business was at a very low point,” Hutchinson, a Republican, told reporters at a Newsletter on Tuesday, referring to the law he signed in April
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“I knew it would be lifted by the legislature if I didn’t sign it. And…I had already abolished our statewide mask mandate.”
“Everything has changed now,” he added. “And yes — in hindsight, I wish that hadn’t become law.”
The governor now wants to change the law to allow schools to adopt their own mask requirements. Students under the age of 12 are not yet eligible for the COVID-19 vaccines.
The legislator was recalled this week and is considering changes to the ban – but it may be difficult to build support for a change with the GOP majority.
With the highly contagious Delta strain now the dominant strain in the US, cases are on the rise everywhere. Arkansas has seen the number of cases rise, with a new one-day record for hospital admissions earlier this week.
Hutchinson is busy encouraging residents to get vaccinated, fighting what he called misinformation in a state where vaccination rates are high. one of the lowest in the country.
About 58 percent of the eligible U.S. population is fully vaccinated against COVID-19, according to the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention. But only 42 percent of Arkansas’s eligible population is fully vaccinated. according to the Ministry of Health.
As the cases increase, there has also been an increase in vaccinations, Hutchinson said in his news briefing. The state reported Tuesday that 30,000 new doses had been administered over a 24-hour period — 25,000 of which were first injections — by far the most in a four-week period.
“Thank you, Arkansans, for doing more research, talking to your doctors, getting information, trusted sources, and making that decision that helps us all,” Hutchinson said.
With Post wires