LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that the mask mandate is officially ending in Arkansas as of Tuesday while also opening up vaccinations to nearly all remaining adults in the state.

With active cases dropping and hospitalizations far below levels the state was seeing on March 1, the mask mandate is ending. Hutchinson is still asking that Arkansans still respect the decisions of businesses and venues in the state that are still requiring masks.

The governor also said all Arkansans 16 and older are now eligible for vaccinations, dramatically increasing the population that can get their doses. As on now, none of the vaccines approved for use in the United States have been given authorization for us with children under the age of 16,

Hutchinson also announced that 25,000 additional vaccine doses will be coming into the state this next week.

New data from the Arkansas Department of Health shows that there were 178 new cases reported in the last 24 hours, moving the total number of cases during the pandemic to 330,186. The active case count dropped again and is currently at 1,717.

There were an additional 15 deaths reported, bringing the total number of Arkansans who have died from COVID-19 to 5,616.

An additional six patients were added to hospitalization lists, moving that to 170 cases in the state. Of those, 25 patients require ventilation, a drop of three from the prior day.

According to new CDC data on Arkansas vaccinations, there have been a total of 1,662,850 doses distributed since vaccinations began with 1,153,739 doses given a rate of 69.4 administered..

Currently, there are 769,106 Arkansans who have received only one dose, while 407,828 have received two doses.