Governor announces lifting out-of-state recreational travel restrictions for areas not considered hot spots


LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Tuesday afternoon restrictions are lifted for recreational travelers from non-hot spot states.

Hot spot areas are considered New York, New Orleans, New Jersey and Connecticut.

The governor said it is advised for people who are from areas that are considered hot spots and want to travel to Arkansas to self-quarantine for 14 days once they get to the state.

Governor Hutchinson said the objective of the lifting the out-of-state travel restrictions is to allow hotels and lodges to extend occupancy to travelers from neighboring states.

Stacy Hurst, Secretary of the Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, said Tuesday that the hotel and lodging industry has strong protocols in place.

Hurst also said her department will change the state parks lodging to include out-of-state travelers.

Governor Hutchinson also announced Tuesday he signed a proclamation extending the emergency for another 45 days. The previous emergency proclamation was going to expire on May 21. The governor said he had the authority to extend the proclamation for 60 days but he didn’t.

State officials announced there are 3,496 cases in Arkansas as of Tuesday afternoon. That is an increase of 38 cases. State officials said four of the 38 cases were from the prison system and 34 were from the community.

Dr. Nate Smith, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, said out of the total number of cases, 1,364 are considered active cases.

State officials say 89 people are in the hospital due to the coronavirus. This is a net decrease of two. Dr. Smith said four people were newly admitted while six were released within the last 24 hours.

Sixteen people are on ventilators due to the coronavirus in Arkansas, which was the same number as Monday.

According to state officials, 83 people have died due to complications of the coronavirus in Arkansas. Two of the deaths were within the last 24 hours.

According to Dr. Smith, 2,050 people have recovered from the virus in the state.

Dr. Smith said Tuesday 45 nursing home facilities across Arkansas have one or more cases. According to Smith, 261 residents and 148 staff have tested positive for the virus.

Dr. Smith said 876 inmates have tested positive for the virus in the Cummins Unit and ADH is doing additional testing where some people either showed symptoms or tested positive for the virus. Dr. Smith said there were two barracks in particular that were being tested.

Dr. Smith said 264 people have tested positive for the virus in the Federal Correctional Institution (FCI) in Forrest City. The governor said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Federal Bureau of Prisons were finally doing testing that needed to be done.

Governor Hutchinson said the testing in Cummins and FCI will probably cause a spike in the numbers for the state.

The governor said 1,270 tests were done in Arkansas on Monday.

The governor also said while state revenue was down 28.3 percent from last year, he was pleased the revenues beat the revised projected forecast. He said this means the state’s economy has not taken a “nose-dive” like it has in other states.

Dr. Smith said Tuesday his department will be adjusting directives to allow lap and lane pools in gyms to open and they will also change recreational pools. Those changes will come later this week, Dr. Smith said.

The governor also said Tuesday that the pandemic unemployment assistance for the self-employed workers, independent contractors and gig economy workers went live at 8 a.m. and should be live. Click here to visit the pandemic unemployment assistance website.

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