Local police discuss plans for mask enforcement

Staff Writer

After Gov. Asa Hutchinson signed an order last week requiring masks in public when social distancing is not possible, the statewide mask mandate officially started Monday.
Following Hutchinson’s announcement several police departments across the state have made statements about enforcement of the mandate.

When asked how about how officers will handle enforcement, Malvern Police Chief Donnie Taber said, “Our officers will respond to address disorderly or non-compliant individuals that have been asked to leave a business and won’t, and we will use our discretion with other reports.”

Hot Spring County Sheriff Mike Cash said that deputies will not arrest or ticket individuals who do not wear masks.
He noted that businesses have the right to require customers to wear masks and ask individuals to leave if they refuse to wear them.
If customers will not leave, deputies will enforce trespassing laws, Cash added.

According to the governor’s order, violators face a fine of up to $500, but cannot be arrested or detained.