SPRINGDALE -- The city will start to give away another 100,000 disposable masks Thursday to help slow the covid-19 outbreak, a city spokesman confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
Masks will be available at both the Randall Tyson Sports Complex and at the Community Building at the Rodeo of the Ozarks from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday, mayor's assistant Colby Fulfer confirmed. The distribution will resume at 2 p.m. Friday at the same locations and last until 6 p.m. so long as the supply of masks holds out.
A previous batch of 100,000 masks purchased in late June went quickly in a similar distribution, Fulfer and Mayor Doug Sprouse told the city council in a committee of the whole meeting Monday.
Those requesting masks will not be required to prove they are city residents, Fulfer told the council Monday. "If they are there, they are in town," he said. "Even if they don't live here, they had to drive to get there. Maybe they'll get a meal while they're here."
Total cost of this latest batch of masks is $30,250, Fulfer said Monday. The city was able to negotiate a reduction from the same supplier. The first batch cost the city $41,705.
Washington County accounts for 4,171 confirmed covid-19 cases out of Arkansas' statewide total of 24,512, according to the latest state Department of Health figures. The county also accounts for 932 of the state's 5,486 active cases and 34 of the 301 deaths.
The neighboring cities of Fayetteville and Springdale have passed ordinances requiring the wearing of masks, but a similar proposal for Springdale ran into opposition at Monday night's meeting. A non-binding resolution is still under consideration and will come up at the August committee of the whole meeting.
Rogers passed its ordinance on Monday in an 8-0 vote, passing verbatim a model ordinance worked out through cooperation of the governor, the state Health Department and the Arkansas Municipal League, a lobby that represents cities. The same ordinance came up for discussion in Monday night's meeting in Springdale.
"It's ironic with two cities similar in so many ways that they can get a unanimous vote and I can't get a motion" to put the same ordinance on the agenda for the next city council meeting, Sprouse said Tuesday morning at a forum hosted by the Rogers-Lowell Area Chamber of Commerce. Rogers Mayor Greg Hines and Bentonville Mayor Stephanie Orman also participated.
Hines told the forum he discussed the ordinance proposal numerous times with Gov. Asa Hutchinson, health department officials and Municipal League staff before Monday's vote. He said the ordinance was the right thing to do although some Rogers residents are passionately opposed.
Quoting Lee Scott, a former chief executive of Walmart Stores Inc., Hines told the forum, "Just because you're passionate about something doesn't mean you're right."
Doug Thompson can be reached by email at [email protected] or on Twitter @NWADoug