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Mask ordinance off the table in Harrison, Ark.

Published: Jul. 14, 2020 at 5:28 PM CDT
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - Harrison Councilman Heath Kirkpatrick said he hears the people of Harrison loud and clear: No mask requirements.

”They said we want the government to not mandate this. This is about freedom. Freedom to wear it. And freedom not to wear it,” Kirkpatrick said.

Ultimately, the latter won out. Harrison’s City Council Committee decided to not move a masking resolution forward last week.

”I got so many calls and texts telling me, ‘Hey we do not want this mandate. We don’t want the government regulating our health. We want them protecting our rights,’”Kirkpatrick said.

The ordinance in question came from Governor Asa Hutchinson’s executive order. It allowed police to step in to help businesses that do require masks if people pushed back, but Mayor Jerry Jackson said the order really wasn’t helpful.

”If they did require it and people didn’t wear it, there was no fine, there was no enforcement. There just was no purpose for this ordinance,” Jackson said.

Instead, the mayor is pushing for a different resolution, one he thinks people would agree to.

”It talks about coming together. All the precautionary measures. Respect one another. Be kind to one another. It talks about the things we need to be doing now. Quit arguing about wearing a mask,” Jackson said.

Jackson’s idea might not get the support it needs, though. Kirkpatrick wants city leaders to trust the process and keep listening to what the people who put them in office want.

”I don’t think there’s more that we can do. Everyone needs to manage their own health. And so I just thought it was best we stay out of it,” Kirkpatrick said.

It should be noted Arkansas is different than Missouri in that mayors here have no authority to draft or pass a mask ordinance, other than what the governor hands down.

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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