Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson hit back after President Biden slammed Republicans for loosening coronavirus restrictions in their states.
Biden took a swipe at Republican governors in Texas and Mississippi on Wednesday, accusing them of “Neanderthal thinking” following their decision to reverse COVID safety policies, including mask mandates. Hutchinson on Friday lifted most of the safety restrictions placed on businesses to curb the spread of coronavirus and said he will end a mask mandate next month if the state’s test positivity or hospitalizations are low.
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“I don’t think it’s fair to say it’s Neanderthal-type thinking,” Hutchinson told “Fox News Sunday.” “It’s pretty natural to have a sensitivity to freedom-loving Americans that say we’ll do the right thing. We know what to do. Just give us our freedom back and lift some of our mandates. … That’s not caveman thinking, that’s common sense.”
As of Friday, businesses including gyms, restaurants and salons will no longer face penalties for ignoring guidelines about business capacity. However, businesses will lose liability immunity if they violate state guidelines.
“There’s a limit as to how much the restrictions can be placed on business and for how long. They’ve struggled. They’ve suffered,” Hutchinson said. “At some point we have to rely upon common sense and good judgment versus mandates, particularly for our businesses.”
Hutchinson touted that his state is prioritizing teachers for coronavirus vaccines after many students returned to classrooms in August and September of 2020.
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“The president says we need to vaccinate all the teachers. Well, we did that. We moved them up in our priority list early on,” Hutchinson said. “That’s important for governors to able to lead their state.”
However, Arkansa ranks in the bottom 10 states in terms of administering coronavirus vaccines, according to Becker’s Hospital Review.
Fox News’ Talia Kaplan and Caitlin McFall and FOX Business’ Audrey Conklin contributed to this report.