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Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

Arkansas Department of Health responds to new CDC mask guidance

An exciting announcement from the CDC Thursday (May 13) that if you are fully vaccinated, you don’t have to wear masks in places they once recommended.

ARKANSAS, USA — An exciting announcement from the CDC Thursday (May 13) that if you are fully vaccinated, you don’t have to wear masks in places they once recommended.

Dr. Jennifer Dillaha with the Arkansas Department of Health says this is a great relief to a lot of fully vaccinated Arkansans who have continued to wear masks.  

“This is all good news for us, and this is the great time of year not to have to wear a mask, summer is coming, and we are ready to get on with our lives,” Dr. Jennifer Dillaha said. 

For businesses like Crane Clothing Co. in Downtown Fort Smith, manager Savannah Parker says it’s a relief to have this new guidance that will hopefully make people even more people feel comfortable to come out and support local businesses. 

“Of course, everyone is still going to take their personal precautions, like me, I prefer to wear a mask if it tends to get busier for the safety of myself, my family, and others but it is exciting to get people back in here shopping the way it used to be,” she said. 

The ADH says 35% of Arkansans 16 and older have been fully vaccinated and 10% have had one dose. Dr. Dillaha is hopeful that number will continue to increase. 

“I’m of course sitting on the edge of my seat to see; can we really get the number of people vaccinated who need to be vaccinated. Can we really keep the spread of covid-19 low and can we really keep the variants of concern from circulating greatly in Arkansas,” she said.