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Fayetteville mask mandate will be lifted in December if holiday season doesn't bring a spike in cases

The city's mask mandate can end on Dec. 23, 2021, if hospitals in the region do not see a significant spike in COVID-19 patients between now and then.

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — The Fayetteville City Council voted unanimously Tuesday, Nov. 16, night on a plan to end a mask mandate in city buildings and some public places. 

All seven city councilors voted in favor of the ordinance, which says the city's mask mandate can end on Dec. 23, 2021, if hospitals in the region do not see a significant spike in COVID-19 patients between now and then. 

According to the current mandate, city-owned buildings and some public places were the only places where leaders enforced the mask requirement. The city council also encouraged businesses to implement the order as well. 

Fayetteville City Health Officer Doctor Marti Sharkey spoke ahead of the vote. She said Fayetteville ICUs had experienced a steady decline in patients for several weeks after nearly hitting a tipping point this summer due to the highly contagious delta variant of the virus.

Doctor Sharkey, and many other health professionals, still have concerns about a rise in cases following the Thanksgiving holiday. After skipping holiday plans last year, many people will be gathering in person again. 

According to data published by the Arkansas Department of Health on Tuesday, 49.8% of Washington County residents have received both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. 

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