Editor’s note: This editorial expresses the views of the Log Cabin Democrat. The editorial board is composed of Frank Leto, Jeanette Anderton and Alex Kienlen.

The Log Cabin Democrat thanks city leaders for passing an ordinance requiring masks in businesses citywide in Conway. We encourage other cities in Faulkner County, and throughout the state, to follow suit.

Last week, Gov. Asa Hutchinson introduced a model ordinance that would mandate masks in cities, and signed an executive order allowing cities to approve it. Hutchinson stopped short of issuing a statewide mandate. The model ordinance also doesn’t include any penalties for noncompliance.

Fayetteville and Little Rock had already approved their own citywide ordinances requiring masks in public prior to the state drafting the model ordinance. Since the governor’s order, Conway was the first of a handful of cities – Fort Smith, Rogers, Hot Springs and De Queen have passed the model ordinance as of this writing – to require masks.

The mask mandate couldn’t come soon enough as Conway continued to see a rise in cases – on Thursday, the city was fifth in the state for active community cases per capita. We urge residents to comply with the ordinance in an effort to see the number of new cases drop.

The Log Cabin Democrat commends the Arkansas Department of Education for pushing back the start date for all Arkansas schools after receiving word that some were not prepared to open Aug. 13 with the COVID-19 guidelines.

We celebrate the decision of the local schools that have already announced they will require masks. Conway Public Schools will require fifth- through 12th-grade students and all district staff to wear masks while on campus. Mayflower will require students in the fourth grade or higher and staff to wear masks. Conway Christian Schools will require students K-12 to wear masks at designated times. We hope the remaining school districts will also require masks.

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