Despite flyer, masks required for Harrisburg Harvest Festival

Despite flyer, masks required for Harrisburg Harvest Festival

HARRISBURG, Ark. (KAIT) - A social media post from the Harrisburg Area Chamber of Commerce sparked some confusion.

The post shared on Oct. 5 shows a flyer promoting a harvest festival that will take place on Halloween.

The flyer said that masks are recommended, not required, violating the Arkansas Department of Health (ADH) Directive for outdoor events.

Harrisburg Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook post stating that "masks are recommended"
Harrisburg Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook post stating that "masks are recommended" (Source: KAIT)

The ADH Directive for Large Outdoor Venues states that face coverings are required for all persons present when moving throughout the area.

This would apply to an event at the courthouse square.

An event with 100 people or more is required to submit a plan to the Arkansas Department of Health to be approved for a permit.

Tuesday, Region 8 News reached out to the Department of Health and found that the festival had not yet submitted a plan.

After receiving an email from ADH Wednesday, the Chamber of Commerce sent in a plan and is awaiting approval.

Last year, over 100 people attended.

Mayor Justin Kimble says that masks were required before the health department reached out Wednesday. Kimble says that he did not create the flyer with the incorrect information.

He said he was told before Wednesday that they did not need to apply for a permit. He was unsure of how many people would attend.

“I do believe that COVID-19 is real. It’s there. I don’t want to make anyone uncomfortable. We’re not forcing anyone to come,” Kimble said.

He thinks that they are doing everything they can to keep the community safe.

“As far as being reckless, I don’t believe it is. People are wanting some type of normalcy so bad, you know? I mean, we’re having small concerts, movies are going, football games, volleyball games, so,” Kimble said.

In addition to enforcing masks, safety precautions include spacing out tents, all vendors handing out candy are required to wear gloves, and have hand sanitizer.

“If we can give some type of normalcy, follow CDC guidelines, and stay healthy and do it smart, we’re going to try to do it," Kimble said.

As of Wednesday, the flyer is still on the Harrisburg Area Chamber of Commerce Facebook page.

No updated information has been shared stating that masks are required for the event.

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