Judge says Arkansas can't enforce mask mandate ban
Pulaski County Circuit Judge Tim Fox on Friday temporarily blocked Arkansas from enforcing Act 1002, which bans public entities from requiring masks, the Associated Press reported.
Context: Multiple lawsuits were filed challenging the ban.
- In a special session this week, the legislature voted down bills that would have allowed school districts to require masks in places with students under 12, who cannot get vaccinated against COVID-19.
What it means: Public schools — including any grade level and universities — can now require students, staff and faculty to wear masks.
- And Little Rock's recent reinstatement of a mask mandate in public spaces is here to stay, for now.
Why it matters: The Delta variant and the state's low vaccination rate (42% of Arkansans 12 and up are fully vaccinated) have caused another public health emergency. Hospitals are back to seeing peak numbers.
- And more kids are getting sick, with some in the ICU and on ventilators. Three Arkansas children have died since December.
Yes, but: This is a preliminary injunction. The legal battle is not over.
What's next: It's up to local school boards and other public governing bodies to decide if they will implement mask mandates while the lawsuits make their way through the courts.
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