Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson made a special announcement this morning saying he is changing the Arkansas Public Health Directives into Public Health Guidelines, which means they will no longer be mandatory because of the decline in cases and hospitalizations. 

The current emergency order in Arkansas was set to expire Saturday, February 27. It has now been extended until March 31. The Emergency Orders include social distancing, wearing masks and washing hands.

If cases continue to decline then the mask mandate would end March 31. He is doing this because he feels that we will still follow the social distancing guidelines as we have now become more accustomed to it along with regularly washing our hands. If cases start to surge and go above 10% then the guidelines will go back in place as directives.

Quarantine requirements will not change. They still encourage everyone to get a COVID-19 vaccination.

The directives mainly affect businesses and will give them more flexibility. They are still expected to keep their customers safe. They will still be expected to follow the directives but only as guidelines therefore they would not be in a position to be fined or penalized. This includes businesses like restaurants, gyms and live venues.

So, basically, the training wheels are off! Now, stay the course but do it slow and steadily.

You can see the press conference in its entirety below

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