Bryant Mayor Allen Scott wishes to clarify the executive order that Governor Asa Hutchinson issued regarding masks. Scott issued a statement explaining the role that law enforcement can take if a business chooses to seek their assistance. The statement follows:
As seen in the news lately, there has been an increase in the number of COVID-19 cases across the county, state, and Bryant. As a result, the Governor issued an executive order that gave municipalities the ability to issue an ordinance relating to mask-wearing in their jurisdictions. Specifically, the model ordinance that was put forth by the Governor and the Arkansas Municipal League states:
“Law enforcement, acting in such a support capacity, shall educate and encourage members of the public who decline to wear facial coverings regarding the efficacy of wearing such coverings according to the ADH guidance on facial coverings released on June 19, 2020. Law enforcement may additionally act in a support capacity to local businesses by educating individuals who decline to comply with the facial covering requirement of any local business that the individual must abide by that requirement or leave the premises.”
The ordinance allows police to operate in a support capacity in the education of their patrons on wearing a mask. The ordinance does not provide for a mechanism to enforce the wearing of masks. The only thing that the police could do would be to trespass the person who refused to comply with the ordinance from the business where the incident occurred.
After discussions with Bryant’s City Attorney, businesses can ask the police to trespass a person off of their property when they refuse to comply with the directives already in place by the Governor or if they refuse the requests of the business owner to wear a mask.
Simply put, this ordinance does not add any power or influence that is not already in place for our business owners or police department.
So instead, we will continue to empower our businesses to require the public to follow the state mandate regarding wearing masks and will support any additional requirements they feel they may have to put into place for the safeguarding of their patrons and staff.
I feel everyone has a responsibility to protect our most vulnerable population during this crisis. If this means wearing a mask when there is a chance you cannot adequately social distance, then that is a small price to pay. I wear a mask into any of the businesses where one is required. I also wear a mask in businesses that do not require them. I do not do this to protect myself. I do it to protect others. Until more research is completed regarding asymptomatic spread, we should all act as if we could be carrying the virus.
The wearing of masks will not prevent you from getting COVID-19, but it does help lessen person to person spread of the virus if you are infected and wearing a mask. The reduction is more significant if both people are wearing the mask. Many who get the virus recover, but that doesn’t lessen my concern about those who get it and don’t recover, or recover and wind up with long-term secondary problems associated with the virus.
So let’s all do our part to slow and lessen the spread of this disease. #MaskUpBryant