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Governor Asa Hutchinson announces opening date for bars and restaurants in Arkansas


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TEXARKANA, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – After being closed for over a month, bars and restaurants in Arkansas will be allowed to open May 11th in increments.

“We realize that restaurants and small businesses have struggled financially. And they’ve been out of work and they’re now having to reconfigure their restaurants in a way that is safe,” said Gov. Asa Hutchinson, State of Arkansas.

According to Governor, this means dine-in restaurants can open with a 33 percent occupancy rate.this is considered phase one. Dine-in locations will closely monitor the flow of traffic in their business and continue to practice social distancing.

If there’s no spike in cases the state will proceed to phase two with a 67 percent occupancy rate. Officials said all employees will be required to wear personal protective equipment like a mask and gloves at all times.

“We’ll have separate tables that’ll be distancing from other customers. And We’ll have disposable menus in place for a while and just keep everything sanitized,” said David Jones, Owner of Hopkins Ice House.

Hutchinson also announced the Arkansas Ready for Business $15 million grant program to offset expenses related to the health and safety of employees.

The governor also announced an additional 81 cases of COVID-19. Bringing the state’s total to 3,192.

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