Gov. Hutchinson OKs ban on local, state mask mandates

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FILE – In this April 27, 2020, file photo, Gov. Asa Hutchinson takes off his Arkansas Razorbacks facemark as he arrives for the daily coronavirus briefing at the state Capitol in Little Rock. A longtime abortion opponent who once opposed allowing gay couples to be foster parents, Gov. Hutchinson is the unlikeliest figure to complain about bills on the “culture wars” reaching his desk. (Staton Breidenthal/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Gov. Asa Hutchinson has signed into law legislation that bans state or local mask mandates for preventing the spread of the coronavirus.

However, the prohibition enacted Thursday won’t take effect until late July.

The Republican governor last month dropped the state’s requirement, but cities such as Fayetteville and Little Rock were allowed to keep their requirements in place.

The mask mandate prohibition won’t apply to private businesses and includes other exceptions, including hospitals owned or controlled by the state.

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