A Message From Sheriff Tim Ryals
A Message from Sheriff Ryals
My first priority is to protect and serve the citizens of our great county. There have been many debates about the best way to handle the coronavirus (COVID-19) issue while, at the same time, protecting our health, safety, and each of our constitutional rights.
On July 16, 2020, Governor Asa Hutchinson issued Executive Order 20-43, which requires citizens to wear a mask or face covering when out in public. This order takes effect Monday, July 20, at 12:01 AM.
As Sheriff, I trust that the citizens and visitors of our county know when they should and should not wear a mask and whether they fall within the exemptions listed in the mandate below.
However, in light of the current situation, the Faulkner County Sheriff's Office will be adopting a policy that specifies how our employees will operate under the EO 20-43 directive. This policy only applies to the actions and decisions under the direction of the Faulkner County Sheriff's Office. It does not apply to other law enforcement agencies or jurisdictions in Faulkner County.
- The FCSO will not respond to complaints of non-compliance of the mask directive in EO 20-43. No enforcement action will be taken against non-compliance of wearing a mask.
- As always, the FCSO will respond to complaint calls when a person has been asked by a local business to comply with the mask directive or leave the premises but then refuses to leave. This would be similar to a business having the "no shirt, no shoes, no service" rule. Non-compliance of this rule would constitute a criminal trespass matter that is a separate and distinct violation under the law.
In part, the Governor's EO 20-43 reads as follows:
1. The Secretary of Health shall issue a public health directive requiring every person in Arkansas to wear a face covering over the mouth and nose in all indoor environments where they are exposed to non-household members and distancing of six (6) feet or more cannot be assured and in all outdoor settings where there is exposure to non-household members, unless there exists ample space of six (6) feet or more to practice physical distancing. The following shall be exempt from wearing a face covering:
- Persons younger than 10 years of age;
- Persons with a medical condition or disability that prevents wearing a face covering;
- Persons performing job duties where a six (6) feet distance is not achievable, but a mask is inhibitory to the ability to safely and effectively perform the job duty;
- Persons participating in athletic activities where a six (6) feet distance is not achievable, but a mask is inhibitory to the activity;
- Persons consuming food or drink;
- Persons driving alone or with passengers from the driver's household;
- Persons receiving services that require access to the face for security, surveillance, or other purposes may temporarily remove a face covering while receiving those services;
- Persons voting, assisting voters, serving as poll watchers, or actively performing election administration duties; however, face coverings are strongly encouraged;
- Persons engaged in religious worship activities; however, face coverings are strongly encouraged;
- Persons giving a speech or performance for broadcast or to an audience; however, those persons shall safely distance from nearby individuals;
- Persons in counties where the Department of Health has certified that risk of community transmission of COVID-19 is low. To be considered low risk, the county must not have a newly identified case of COVID-19 for twenty-eight (28) consecutive days, assuming there has been adequate testing in the county.
You can read the proclamation in its entirety at https://governor.arkansas.gov/images/uploads/executiveOrders/EO_20-43.pdf
Should you have any questions or concerns about the health directive or non-compliance of the Governor's Executive Order, please contact the Arkansas Department of Health at (501) 661-2000.
Sheriff Tim Ryals