We are about to reach the end of the month of March! We have watched a few things change and hopefully we will witness more in the months to come. The best way to accomplish the needed changes it to continue to work together for a common cause. It may new, but “normal” is within our reach.
We anticipate the lifting of the statewide mask mandate in a few days along with many of the other restrictions that our governor, Asa Hutchinson changed to guidelines. Even as guidelines, we are still in the position to follow them to ensure safety and protection from COVID-19. We are still in the pandemic and realize we have not reached the light at the end of the tunnel yet.
Lifting the mask mandate will not remove the need to wear our masks. Although the city can not enforce the mandate, individual businesses will have the option to set their own requirements. Customers and clients will have to abide by those requirements when entering their establishments. With that in mind, we will need to keep our masks available. Also note that you can wear a mask even if it is not required by the state or individual businesses. We must continue to stay safe.
All plans that were previously required to be in place for events are no longer required at this time. Event planners are still able to contact the Arkansas Department of Health for assistance as you continue to plan events for the upcoming months. Projections for events look good for the summer and we have continued to follow guidelines and proceed with caution thus far. It has been beneficial for organizations to have those guidelines in place in the past to ensure the safety of those attending. It is an asset to be able to continue to consult with the ADH moving forward. Safety is still of the utmost concern for us all.
The El Dorado School District will have the opportunity to set their own guidelines in place with continued guidance from the state. Again, those guidelines have been beneficial in the past and will prove to be beneficial in assisting in the future. Just like businesses, employees and customers our students and school administrations are required to be safe. Measures will be taken to make sure of it even if it does not come from the city.
One of the most important components of our ability to move forward is the vaccination of our citizens. It is essential for all of us to combat the affects of COVID-19. Realizing that getting the vaccine may have been an issue in the past, we are now positioning ourselves to make it easily accessible to all of our citizens. In addition to it being available at Medical Center South Arkansas, there are other efforts being made to organize mass vaccinations as will as hopes for making the vaccination available to our citizens in rural areas.
With all our efforts to reach this new normal, we will only achieve it by doing what we did to make it to this point. Yes, we must continue to understand that we are in this together! Together we will make the difference that is needed. I look forward to the day that COVID-19 is truly behind us. Even then I pray that we realize that it only occurred by the grace of God and the will to work together for each other!
Veronica Smith-Creer is the Mayor of El Dorado. She can be reached at [email protected]