JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - Governor Asa Hutchinson’s signed an executive order giving cities the option to adopt a model ordinance to require masks to be worn following the Arkansas Department of Health guidelines.
The City of Jonesboro does not plan to adopt the governor’s ordinance at this time. Director of Communications Bill Campbell says cities have the option to adopt the ordinance.
“We don’t see the urgent need to have our police department running around looking for people not wearing masks right now,” he explains.
According to Campbell, Mayor Harold Perrin commends all city departments on their hard work during the pandemic.
He says Jonesboro does not plan to enforce the ordinance, but the mayor does encourage mask-wearing.
The Jonesboro City Council meets Tuesday, July 7. However, the governor’s ordinance will not be on the agenda.
Campbell explains that the governor’s ordinance proposal happened after the deadline to add items to the council’s agenda.
“The mayor is not ready to put this on the agenda,” he says. “There are two facets to that. One, is we’re not where some of these other cities are. We don’t want to get there. Two, it’s unenforceable law right now. You can’t have police force running around looking for people not wearing masks. They’ve got jobs to do.”
The mayor isn’t the only person who can put items on the agenda for a vote.
At least two council members can require an item to be placed on the agenda. A chairman on the public safety committee can also push an item through to the council.
Keep in mind, an ordinance must have three readings before it can be adopted.
Local restaurant The Parsonage considers the ordinance a good thing.
“The mask is a necessary thing. The longer we wear these masks and tough through it right now, the quicker we can open back up and maybe get back to normal,” owner and chef John Myers says. “Otherwise, restaurants are going to see fines or maybe total closure.”
The next city council meeting for this ordinance to be considered will be July 21.