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Vaccine eligibility is open to all Arkansans age 16 and older, and the statewide mask mandate has been lifted, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday.

Hutchinson clarified the lifting of the mandate does not mean the use of the masks will end. The governor asked residents to respect the decisions of others in regards to masks.

The governor announced the moves as the state saw its virus cases and hospitalizations continue to decline. The state had previously made the vaccine available to people 65 and older as well as several other categories, including teachers, health care workers and food service employees.

Hutchinson last month lifted most of the state's virus restrictions, including restaurant and bar capacity limits, and had said the mask mandate would expire at the end of March if the state met goals for test positivity and hospitalizations.

This story will be updated.

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