Arkansas - COVID-19 Covered

Arkansas

Total Cases: 7,443 (June 2)
Tests Administered: 133,236 (June 1)
Fatalities: 133 (June 2)
Testing:
  • Governor Hutchinson announced a new COVID-19 Advisory Board, which will review and evaluate new technologies as the Alabama health agencies develop strategies for testing and contact tracing. (May 29)
  • Governor Hutchinson announced a new goal of testing every nursing home resident and staff member beginning June 1. (May 19)
  • Governor Hutchinson announced Walmart and Quest Diagnostic have opened a drive-thru COVID-19 testing site in Central Arkansas for symptomatic residents, healthcare workers, and first responders. (April 27)
  • Governor Hutchinson announced the launch of a two-day Arkansas Surge Campaign, with a goal to increase testing from 1,000 to 1,500 per day. (April 23)
  • Governor Hutchinson created the COVID-19 Testing Working Group, which will make recommendations to expand the capacity and performance of COVID-19 testing in Arkansas. (April 21)
  • Governor Hutchinson announced a partnership with Walmart and Quest Labs to start a pilot, drive-thru testing site in Benton County for first responders and healthcare workers who exhibit symptoms. (April 1)
  • Natural State Laboratories is now offering drive-thru testing in Arkansas and reportedly has more than 30,000 testing kits available. Their facility is located in North Little Rock and will operate seven days a week. (March 30)
  • According to its website, the Arkansas Department of Health is only performing tests on those “with possible high risk exposure to COVID-19,” however healthcare providers do have access to testing through other labs. (March 20)
  • Community-based testing sites are limiting testing to healthcare facility workers and first responders. (March 20)
  • According to the Arkansas Department of Health, as of March 18 there were 10 hospital drive-thru testing/screening sites across the state. (March 18)

ECONOMIC RESPONSE

Essential Service Designations:

  • No records found as of May 7.
  • Governor Hutchinson announced some nonessential out-patient medical procedures can resume on April 27. (April 22)
  • Governor Hutchinson issued an executive order directing commercial lodging and short-term rentals, such as hotels, motels, and vacation rentals, to only permit certain types of guests in order to protect public health during the COVID-19 crisis. (April 4)

Labor & Workforce Guidance, Standards and Regulations:

  • All restaurants and bars in the state have been directed to operate under carry-out, curbside pickup, and delivery options only “until further notice.” (March 20)
  • Governor Hutchinson ordered all “indoor venues,” including gyms, closed to visitors and those not providing essential services. (March 19)
  • The Arkansas Department of Health ordered all salons, barbershops, and tattoo parlors to close. (March 23)
  • The Arkansas Department of Health ordered salons, barbershops and tattoo parlors to close in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. (March 24)

Economic Stimulus & Relief:

  • Governor Hutchinson issued an executive order creating the Governor’s Economic Recovery Task Force, which will develop an industry-specific strategy and provide recommendations for the state’s economic recovery. (April 18)
  • Governor Hutchinson announced a temporary waiver of the requirement to search for a new job while receiving unemployment. (April 17)
  • The Arkansas Department of Finance & Administration announced it will temporarily waive penalties for late registration on vehicles and tag renewal through April 16. (March 30)
  • Governor Hutchinson announced the Arkansas tax filing deadline for individuals will be moved to July 15 and that he will call a special session of the legislature to deal with budget shortfalls tied to the coronavirus pandemic. (March 23)
  • State officials are reportedly considering extending the April 15 tax deadline for paying Arkansas individual income taxes. (March 19)
  • Governor Hutchinson directed the Arkansas Department of Commerce to expedite unemployment benefits to assist employees impacted by the COVID-19 crisis and directed the Department of Commerce to waive current work-search requirements for 30 days and to allow unemployed individuals to apply for benefits online or by telephone rather than in person to minimize the risk of exposure. (March 17)

Business Support & Resources:

  • Governor Hutchinson announced the state legislature approved $55 million in funding for the Arkansas Ready for Business Grant Program to help businesses reopen and provide them assistance to ensure health and safety standards for employees and customers. (May 4)
  • Governor Hutchinson announced the opening of the Arkansas Ready for Business initiative to aid small business owners recovering from financial losses during the COVID-19 pandemic. (May 1)
  • The state will allocate $12 million in Community Development Block Grant money to help relief and recovery efforts for companies and nonprofits. (March 18)
  • Additionally, Governor Hutchinson will use $4 million from his “quick-action fund” to provide bridge loans of up to $250,000 for mid-sized firms to make payroll and remain operational; loan priority will reportedly be given to “businesses critical to the state’s economy.” (March 18)
  • The governor also requested a Small Business Administration disaster declaration, a request that was eventually granted. (March 20)
  • The Arkansas Economic Development Commission has established a $7 million loan program to provide assistance to businesses affected by the COVID-19 outbreak. (March 17)

SOCIAL RESTRICTIONS

Shelter-In-Place Orders

  • Governor Hutchinson announced that restaurant bars can reopen May 19 and free-standing or stand-alone bars can reopen May 26. (May 18)
  • Governor Hutchinson announced that all retail businesses in the state may reopen on May 18, with the exception of bars. (May 15)
  • Governor Hutchinson announced the state is not ready to move into Phase Two of his reopening plan, as was previously scheduled for May 18. (May 14)
  • Governor Hutchinson reportedly announced he will allow large venues such as arenas, stadiums, and theaters to reopen at one-third capacity, pending approval. If one-third capacity at these venues is more than 50 people, the venue must submit a plan to be approved by the Arkansas Department of Health. (May 10)
  • Governor Hutchinson announced that pools, splash pads, water parks, and swim beaches will be permitted to reopen with social distancing restrictions on May 22. (May 8)
  • Governor Hutchinson announced that dental services in Arkansas may resume on May 11. Governor Hutchinson also announced the state’s casinos will reopen at one-third capacity with social distancing measures in place on May 18. (May 7)
  • Governor Hutchinson lifted a temporary ban on recreational travel into Arkansas, but travelers from COVID-19 “hot spots” like New York, New Orleans, New Jersey, and Connecticut would still be prohibited from entering the state. (May 5)
  • Governor Hutchinson announced indoor venues such as theaters, arenas, stadiums, and auction houses designed for audiences of fewer than 50 may reopen on May 18, so long as they adhere to strict social distancing guidelines for performers, contestants, and attendees. (May 4)
  • The Arkansas Department of Health, in consultation with Governor Hutchinson, issued new guidance for faith-based organizations, which will allow places of worship to resume in-person services if they follow strict social distancing guidelines. (May 4)
  • Governor Hutchinson announced barber shops, tattoo parlors, body art schools, cosmetology establishments, massage therapy clinics and spas, and medical spas my resume operations on May 6, so long as they follow certain health and safety guidelines. (May 1)
  • Governor Hutchinson announced Arkansas State Parks will begin a limited reopening of some facilities starting May 1, including campgrounds and visitor centers. (April 28)
  • Governor Hutchinson issued an order restricting the amount of out-of-state travelers that can come into Arkansas amid the COVID-19 pandemic. (April 4)
  • The Arkansas Department of Health has stated individuals who have had “close contact with a person who tested positive for COVID-19 or traveled from New York state or any international location within the last 14 days” should self-quarantine and remain inside their homes for 14 days. (March 26)

Curfews:

  • No records found.
  • Officials in Little Rock have expanded the curfew put in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which will now be enforced from 9pm to 5am, with citations for violating the curfew carrying a penalty ranging from $150 to $185; this will remain in effect until April 17. (March 25)

Social-Distancing Guidelines:

  • Governor Hutchinson announced that gyms and fitness centers will be allowed to reopen on May 4, so long as they follow social distancing and safety measures. (April 30)
  • Governor Hutchinson announced restaurants can reopen “limited” dine-in eating on May 11, so long as social distancing and health precautions are enforced. (April 29)
  • Arkansas has banned all indoor and enclosed outdoor social gatherings of more than 10 people, with few exceptions. (March 26)
  • Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan has ordered all city park amenities to close, including playgrounds, basketball courts, playing fields, water fountains and restrooms. (March 24)
  • Arkansas Department of Health Director Dr. Nathaniel Smith has recommended all traditional funerals should be scaled back or delayed. (March 24)
  • Secretary of State John Thurston ordered the closure of the Arkansas State Capitol to the public and only authorized personnel are permitted to enter the building for work purposes. (March 12)

Delivery Services:

  • All restaurants and bars in the state have been directed to operate under carry-out, curbside pickup and delivery options only “until further notice.” (March 20)

SCHOOL CLOSURES

K-12:

  • Governor Hutchinson extended the mandatory closure of all Arkansas public schools through the end of the 2019-2020 school year. (April 6)
  • The Arkansas Department of Education’s Division of Elementary and Secondary Education will reportedly work with Arkansas PBS to broadcast educational programs tied to the state curriculum for students in pre-K through 8th (March 28)
  • Governor Hutchinson announced schools will be closed until at least April 17 and education would continue through alternative methods like AMI days. (March 20)

State Higher Education:

  • No statewide order regarding institutions of higher learning has been issued as of April 1.
  • Several colleges and universities throughout the state have moved to all-online classes. (March 12)

Giving Oportunities

April 20, 2020

Requesting medical supplies, including sanitizer, IV sets and masks for workers.

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