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05.01.2020

Getting Back to Business

This has been a good week in Arkansas. We have made progress in containing COVID-19, so I was able to announce some good news about our path back to normal.

I announced we would allow the limited re-opening of restaurants, state campgrounds, fitness centers and gyms, and hair salons and body art parlors all within the next week and a half.

The campgrounds opened today for Arkansas residents. On May 15th, we will open visitor information centers, museums and exhibits, gift shops, golf pro shops, and marinas, and allow the rental of equipment - all at our state parks. We also will allow rental of cabins, lodges, and RVs Friday through Monday.

Gym owners may open on Monday. Hair stylists and body artists can open on Wednesday. Restaurants can resume limited dine-in service on May 11th.

These decisions are all made in close consultation with Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith and through close study of all our data. I want to stress that as we return to business, we will continue the practices we’ve adopted to stop the virus thus far. Wash your hands frequently, wear masks and gloves when it’s appropriate, stay six feet apart, and if you are not healthy, stay home as much as possible. 

I also announced that we are opening the Arkansas Ready for Business initiative to aid the owners of small businesses recovering from the financial losses during the pandemic. This still needs approval by the Legislative Council of the General Assembly.

COVID-19 has touched nearly every aspect of our lives. Everyone has been adversely affected and made sacrifices at some level. But Arkansans met the challenge responsibly and with compassion. That is why we are now able to begin jump-starting the economy, which was booming before the coronavirus arrived. I am confident the setback is temporary, and that the economy will grow strong again.

We are not through this, but I am encouraged by the trends. Arkansans have been patient and responded well to the inconveniences this pandemic has brought to our state. We want to move quickly, but never too quickly. I am looking forward to the day when I can go to a gym for a game of full-court basketball.

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