Severity: Warning Alert

Transportation: Officials in Arkansas, US, order residents to wear face masks whenever in public, starting July 20. Other COVID-19 measures in place.

  • Alert Begins: 20 Jul 2020 10:46 PM UTC
  • Alert Expires: 07 Aug 2020 11:59 PM UTC
  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Arkansas (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Possible business disruptions

Authorities in Arkansas have issued orders requiring all persons in the state to wear protective face coverings starting July 20 to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The directive specifically mandates that all persons 10 years of age or older wear face coverings when in any indoor or outdoor environment, except for private residences, where social distancing of at least 2 meters (6 feet) cannot be observed. Exemptions are authorized for persons with medical conditions or disabilities that prevent the wearing of a face covering, as well as certain professional activities in which a face mask would inhibit the safe and effective performance an individual's job duties.

The measure comes as Arkansas remains in Phase 2 of its COVID-19 economic recovery plan. Under Phase 2, most previously imposed restrictions have been eased, allowing most businesses, including indoor and outdoor entertainment venues, bars and restaurants, and gaming facilities to operate at 66 percent capacity. Gyms and fitness centers have reopened; personal care businesses are no longer required to operate on an appointment-only basis. Lodging businesses can provide services to all visitors. Nevertheless, residents 65 years of age and older, and those with underlying health conditions, are encouraged to remain at home as much as possible.

All businesses must enhance sanitation procedures, ensure compliance with social distancing standards within their establishments, screen workers' health, require the use of face coverings for employees and customers, and limit the number of persons who are inside their facilities at a given time.

Some transport and business disruptions are possible. Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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