Arkansas Gov. Hutchison: State not going to ‘bust’ people for going to church

(USA Features) Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchison said he isn’t prepared to arrest citizens if they choose to go to church on Easter Sunday, noting that social distancing rules are really just “guidelines.”

During an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Hutchinson, a Republican who is one of eight governors yet to issue a statewide ‘stay at home’ order, admitted there was one Arkansas church that didn’t follow the recommendation against large gatherings.

“Because they’re guidelines, there’s not going to be any arrests made or citations made,” he said.

“But the consequence would be that if there’s a serious health risk because of a gathering, we’ll give a very specific directive and have a discussion with that church, which happened in one. The pastor responded very quickly when our public health officials went there,” he added.

“So just virtually all of the churches in Arkansas are following the guidelines very carefully. They’re just as concerned about their parishioners as I am as governor,” he continued.

“And so we’re worshipping remotely this Easter. And I expect everybody to make sure they follow those social distancing guidelines and not gather whenever you have a risk.”

The governor added that his state’s “targeted approach” to controlling the spread of the virus has been successful and he doesn’t feel the need for a statewide quarantine.

“Our approach, emphasizing the masks, the social distancing, being in it for the long term, being able to have a modicum of business that’s going ahead and functioning out there, that’s important balance that we have in our state,” he said.

“If we need to do more, we will do more,” he added. “So that’s always an option on the table if we have to shelter in place.”

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