With the end of March, the state’s mask mandate also is expected to go away.

Last month Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson lifted most of the state’s restrictions because of COVID-19, and he indicated Monday that he still plans to lift the state’s mask mandate this week if case numbers stay low.

“Our decline in active cases continues today,” Hutchinson said in a prepared statement on Monday. “There are almost 2,500 fewer active cases than the report on March 1 of this year. There are also over 275 fewer hospitalizations than March 1. We continue to fight back against the virus, and the vaccine is our best tool.”

Also on Monday, Arkansas lawmakers rejected an effort to end the emergency declared by the governor because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The Arkansas Legislative Council reviewed a request under the new law Hutchinson signed last week that expands the Legislature’s power to end a declared emergency.

Hutchinson said keeping the emergency declaration in place would allow the state to continue receiving an additional $23 million in food stamp benefits and would guarantee some liability protection for businesses.

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