A temporary mask mandate has been lifted in the city of Fayetteville, according to a report published in the Fayetteville Flyer this week. Fayetteville City Council members adjourned their regular meeting on Tuesday March 2 without extending the most recent mask mandate, meaning the mandate is no longer in effect.
A previous mandate expired Dec. 23, but the Omicron surge led to Council Member Teresa Turk to call for a temporary ordinance requiring masks to be worn indoors in public places and city-owned buildings. The latest mandate was written to automatically terminate on March 2, unless the council extended it. It was enacted on Jan. 18.
Active cases in Arkansas have dropped from 88,938 in mid-January to 4,887 on Tuesday, March 2, according to numbers from the Arkansas Department of Health. Hospitalizations are also down 75 percent to 449 from their highest level of 1,819 in late January.
With the number of nationally-reported virus cases also declining, other states are planning to remove their mask mandates, as well. The latest CDC guidelines suggest that about 70% percent of Americans can safely stop wearing masks.
Masks became optional inside Fayetteville Public Schools on Feb. 28, and the end of classroom masking requirements at the University of Arkansas in Fayetteville was announced on March 1.