It’s been more than a year, and the Covid-19 virus is still with us. The world is now grappling with several new variants of the virus and a steady rise in new cases.
Surprisingly (or perhaps not), several Republican governors reacted viscerally to mask mandates.
Now Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson says he deeply regrets his decision to approve a ban on mask mandates.
“In hindsight, I wish that it had not become law. But it is the law, and the only chance we have is either to amend it or for the courts to say that it has an unconstitutional foundation,” he said at a news conference.
In April, the governor signed a bill banning mask mandates due to the low cases of Covid-19 in the state. Hutchinson is now calling for a special session to reverse the law he helped push through.
The state recorded 2,343 new cases on Aug. 3, with 1,232 currently hospitalized. In April, just 44 cases were reported.
The Arkansas mandate means businesses, schools, and cities cannot refuse entry to those who are unmasked or have not been vaccinated in order to curb the spread of the coronavirus.
“As of August 1st of this year, nearly 19% of all active cases are in children under 18 years of age. Those children that cannot have a vaccine at this point … account for more than half of that percentage,” Secretary of Health Jose Romero said.
“I knew it would be overridden by the legislature if I didn’t sign it, and I had already eliminated our statewide mask mandate. Everything has changed now,” Hutchinson said.