Governor Hutchinson defends Saline County’s juvenile ‘stay at home’ order

SALINE COUNTY, Ark. — As Governor Asa Hutchinson explains why he hasn’t placed a statewide ‘stay at home’ order, officials in Saline County are taking drastic measures on their own.            

Both Saline County and Benton issued a juvenile ‘stay at home’ order.

All minors in Benton and unincorporated areas of the county must stay home or on their property unless a parent or guardian is present.

RELATED: Gov. Hutchinson explains why he hasn’t issued ‘stay at home’ order for Arkansas yet

However, teens can still go to work, seek medical attention, and get necessary food or supplies.

“I don’t think kids are the problem, but they do not take this as serious as adults do,” said Lynn Rabon, a Saline County mother.  

One teen, Logan Bragg, just received his driver’s license and was looking forward to a little freedom, until now.

“One day, we are allowed to do what we want; the next day, we can’t do anything,” said Bragg.

But even as disappointing as times are right now, Bragg said he’s done his own research on COVID-19 and wishes other teens like himself would listen to state officials.

“Teenagers just don’t understand how big of a deal this is,” said Bragg. “They keep going out and that’s why it’s spreading more.”

In a press release, Saline County Judge Jeff Arey said he’s been increasingly concerned about asymptomatic teens passing COVID-19 as people aren’t taking social distancing seriously.

Governor Asa Hutchinson addressed the county’s decision after many have questioned if the judge and mayor have the authority to issue this order.

“Are you blocking commerce if you have a curfew for juveniles? My answer is no,” said Governor Asa Hutchinson. “We are pleased with local response that I believe is a unique issue they are facing.”

RELATED: Saline County, Benton issues ‘Stay at Home’ order to minors due to COVID-19

The order begins Monday.

The Saline County Sheriff’s Office said the ultimate goal is to ensure the safety of the public. That will be the basis in decision-making while enforcing this order.  

Anyone in violation could end up with a citation.