Thursday 1 October, 2020

COVID-19: Arkansas Governor says, 'Spend Money' as State economy opens

In this April 30, 2020 photo, people wait outside of the at the Arkansas Workforce Center as the line wraps around the building in Jacksonville, Ark. (Thomas Metthe/ Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)

In this April 30, 2020 photo, people wait outside of the at the Arkansas Workforce Center as the line wraps around the building in Jacksonville, Ark. (Thomas Metthe/ Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson today (May 2) encouraged residents to “tip very generously” and “spend money” when they head back into public in the coming days as stores, restaurants, malls and other venues start to reopen.

Arkansas is among a handful of states where governors did not issue broad stay-at-home orders seen in most of the US during the novel coronavirus pandemic, but Hutchinson has imposed other restrictions.

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Restaurants can reopen their dining rooms on May 11, but only at one-third their capacity. Hair salons, barbershops, tattoo shops and massage therapists can reopen Wednesday with new rules on customer interaction, including limits on how many people can be inside and screening of customers and staff.

“Wear a wear a mask,” Hutchinson said at a news conference. “Follow the guidelines of the retail shops and make sure you do your social distancing ... I hope that we get out, I hope that we spend money. But I hope we make sure that we follow those guidelines.”

Hutchinson, a Republican, said restaurant workers won't make as much with smaller crowds in dining rooms.

“I hope we all tip very generously," Hutchinson said. "They're not going to have the same level of tip income ... It's not the ideal circumstance.”

Also Saturday, the state Department of Corrections announced two inmates had died while undergoing COVID-19 treatment. Both were in their 60s and serving life sentences, the agency said.

Arkansas has more than 850 inmates and employers under a novel coronavirus-related quarantine, corrections officials said.

Health officials announced Saturday the state has at least 3,372 infections, although the number is likely higher because many people have not been tested and studies suggest people can be infected and not feel sick.

The number of deaths from COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus, rose from 64 to 73.

For most people, the coronavirus disease 2019 causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

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