Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson (R-AR) announced Tuesday that he will not allow individual mayors to pursue stay-at-home policies within Arkansas, arguing that a more uniform policy is needed to combat the spread of coronavirus across the state.
During a press conference on Tuesday, Hutchinson also indicated that he was giving cities the flexibility to impose curfews and to close local parks and other public buildings, but the closures would need to be run by the governor’s office first.
“We want to have some common approach to this across the state, but this gives the mayor some flexibility to deal with the special issues in their particular community,” said Hutchinson.
In the same press conference, Frank Scott, the mayor of Little Rock, commended the working relationship with the governor’s office, but revealed that he would have liked to have the authority to implement a stay-at-home order in his city.
“We have clearly had the ability to issue our curfews and things of that nature,” said Scott, after a reporter inquired as to whether the mayor wanted the governor to issue a stay-at-home order for Little Rock.
“I believe that is what’s best for Little Rock, but that may not be what’s best for Fort Smith,” said Scott. “As the mayor of the city, that’s something that we desire. However, we are working within the confines of the current laws, and in great partnership with the governor.”
While 42 other states have implemented stay-at-home orders, Hutchinson recently explained that he has been unwilling to follow them because they orders create an “illusion” of safety, and that he preferred to implement a more “targeted” response, reports THV-11.
“It gives the impression that we’re not really doing as much as we should be in Arkansas, when you can see from the targeted response that we’re doing a great deal, and it has been having some success,” said the governor, who noted that the state’s coronavirus projections at the time were lower than they were at the end of March.
The governor also predicted that a sweeping order would result in layoffs for 200,000 people across the state, and that more than 700,000 people would still be exempt if the order was structured like California’s, reports the news agency.
As of Tuesday evening, 1,000 people have tested positive for coronavirus in the state, reports ABC 7. Arkansas has a population of about 3 million people, and has tested approximately 14,500 people.
About one-fifth of those who have tested positive have since recovered, and 18 have died, reports the news agency.
As The Daily Wire has previously reported, Dr. Anthony Fauci, the White House coronavirus expert, has expressed interest in nationwide stay-at-home orders, but President Trump has taken a more state-based approach.
“You have to look – you have to give a little flexibility,” said Trump last week during a press conference. “If you have a state in the Midwest, or if Alaska, for example, doesn’t have a problem, it’s awfully tough to say, ‘close it down.’ We have to have a little bit of flexibility.”