The City of Magnolia has no plans to adopt an ordinance recommending that residents wear a mask to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus – unless the state orders it.
Magnolia Mayor Parnell Vann said, “The issue of whether or not to mandate wearing a face mask has become over politicized. The governor has not issued an executive order requiring all Arkansans to wear a mask.
“Since the pandemic began, we have looked to the Governor's Office for guidance for regulations, requirements, recommendations, etc. If the governor issues a statewide mandate to wear face masks, Magnolia will absolutely abide by his order.”
A statewide mask order goes into effect in Louisiana today for all residents age 8 or older. Texas began requiring masks for all citizens age 2 or older through an order last week.
Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson has expressed hesitation about issuing a mask order, saying that he relies on the common sense of Arkansans to do so. More than a week ago, Hutchinson’s office issued a “model ordinance” for cities that which to have mask ordinances.
The model law provides for no penalty or jail time for people who violate such ordinances. It would allow for the arrest of people on trespassing violations if they decline to wear a face covering inside a local business and refuse to leave when asked. The governor’s office produced the model ordinance as its latest response to an ordinance passed by the Fayetteville City Council which allows for fines against people who don’t wear masks.
Hutchinson also made clear that he doesn’t want cities adopting mask ordinances that are stricter than the model ordinance.
“I have reviewed the ordinance drafted and released by the Governor's Office,” Vann said. “This ordinance has no repercussions on those that do not abide and refuse to wear a mask. In other words, it has no ‘bite’ and would ultimately put an undue burden on our already understaffed police department,” Vann said.
However, Vann does want Magnolians to wear masks.
“I take personal responsibility when I am in public spaces. I wear a mask. I encourage the public to wear a mask, social distance, and respect your neighbors,” Vann said.
CLICK THE PDF to see the executive order of the governor regarding the model ordinance.