Directives have been added in regard to Arkansans and COVID-19

Directives have been added in regard to Arkansans and COVID-19

As of today during Governor Asa Hutchinson’s COVID-19 update conference, it has been confirmed that Arkansas now has 62 positive test results which included additional nine new counties. One of these counties was Sevier, just south of us. Two of the additions were children. Test results from Polk County returned negative of the strand.

Due to the increased number of positive cases resulting from community spread, Gov. Hutchinson added new directives as the latest steps the state of Arkansas is taking in limiting the speed of COVID-19.

These directives include: K-12 public schools will remain closed until April 17th. The state will re-evaluate re-opening at that time and education will continue through AMI after next week’s scheduled spring break.

All bars and restaurants will now be closed for dine-in service and open for carry-out, drive-through, and delivery. Arkansas Alcoholic Beverage Control issued a rule allowing restaurants and microbrewery restaurants to sell beer and wine (unopened/corked) for off-site consumption with the purchase of food. This will be for the next 30 days.

Indoor venues, including gyms, are now closed to “non-essential” functions.

State government employees will conduct business through telecommuting and on-site work, which will be limited to personnel necessary to the proper functioning of government. In addition to governmental employees, Gov. Hutchinson recited a message to both the business community as well as the general public. “As part of the directives, we would like to add public messages to our businesses and to the general public. First, in terms of the businesses, we encourage our businesses to move to telecommuting, video conferencing, or remote work wherever possible. We recognize that may not be possible in many circumstances, but those are the evaluations in which businesses should conduct. They should implement screening of staff and visitors, they should enforce social distancing, and the businesses in Arkansas should plan for the future by updating continuity of operation plans.”

Hutchinson continued, “To the public, older individuals and those with serious medical conditions should stay home to the extent possible. Avoid unnecessary contact with visitors. Second, avoid gatherings of more than 10 people. Third, use the drive thru, carryout and delivery services of local restaurants. It’s not only a good public health practice, but it also supports small business owners here in the state. Fourth, avoid unnecessary trips or exposure to large groups. Fifth, enjoy walking, hiking, fishing and other outdoor activities consistent with social distancing and sixth, do not visit nursing homes, retirement centers, and long term care facilities unless providing critical assistance. These are common sense measures that many are already taking in light of the national emergency and state emergency we see. We just wanted to make it very clear…,” said Hutchinson.

Hospitals, clinics, and mental health facilities are mandated to screen staff and visitors with temperature and symptom-screening.

The Governor and Dr. Nathan Smith encouraged all citizens to avoid the gathering iof groups since we have transitioned in the community spread phase. There is nothing to do but limit your contact with others as much as possible.

If you have been in contact with someone who tested positive, self-quarantine for 14 days. If you start to develop symptoms, go to a drive-thru testing center or call (avoid the Emergency Room unless you are experiencing difficulty pin breathing) and if you test positive, take it upon yourself to contact anyone who you know you might have exposed so that they can put themselves in quarantine immediately.

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