Gov. Asa Hutchinson has lifted the statewide mask mandate. He also announced that all Arkansans 16 and older are now eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine.

The decision to lift the mask mandate came after the governor, in consultation with Secretary Jose Romero of the Arkansas Department of Health, determined that Arkansas has met the guidelines set on Feb. 26. Businesses still have the right to require customers to wear masks, and the governor asked that citizens respect these requirements.

“I’ve talked to a number of restaurant owners who will continue requiring masks within their restaurant for the safety of their employees and patrons,” Governor Hutchinson said during his weekly COVID-19 update. “Please be respectful and mindful that, while the mask mandate has been lifted, many businesses will continue to require it.”

The governor also announced that vaccine eligibility is open to all Arkansans 16 and older. “We want Arkansans to get vaccinated because it is our path out of the pandemic. It is the way to get there quicker, and we want to ensure we give every Arkansan that opportunity,” Gov. Hutchinson said.

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