Gov. Hutchinson announces barber, cosmetology, massage therapy, body art and medical spas can open May 6


LITTLE ROCK, Ark.- Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Friday barber, cosmetology, massage therapy, body art and medical spa services can reopen May 6.

For smaller facilities, there must be fewer than 10 people inside. In larger facilities, no more than 30 percent of stations should be in operation.

Walk-in appointments will not be allowed.

Clients should wait outside or in their cars until the stylist is ready.

Time should also be in place in between appointments for cleaning.

There must be 6 feet in between clients during appointments and in the waiting room.

Client names and contact information will need to be recorded.

Those who are vulnerable to the virus should consider staying home at this time, according to state officials.

Face coverings are required for staff. Clients must also wear masks as services permit.

State officials say gloves should also be worn.

Hands must be washed before and after services.

State officials say both staff and clients should be screened.

Services must be postponed if there are any symptoms, even if attributes to allergies, according to state officials.

The salons must be throughly cleaned and disinfected.

Beauty and Barber schools are not included in the lifting of restrictions at this time.

Dr. Michelle Smith, Director of the Office of Health Equity at ADH, announced there would be a free seminar Tuesday, May 5 from 6 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. to help people in salons and barbershops reopen. Dr. Michelle Smith said more information will be available on the ADH website.

Dr. Michelle Smith also announced Friday the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame Foundation, in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Health – Office of Health Equity (ADH), announced the launch of the ABHOF Foundation COVID-19 Relief Initiative. Under this new initiative, the ABHOF Foundation will begin accepting applications for mini-grants from organizations serving black and other underserved communities throughout Arkansas. ABHOF has committed $25,000 to the effort and is seeking to raise an additional $25,000 in private funds during the month of May. These funds would provide additional mini-grants to organizations through a second round of awards.

The Foundation’s initiative will provide mini-grants, up to $1,000, to Arkansas-based organizations serving minority communities and working to address COVID-19 related issues in the following ways:

*       Food insecurity

*       Housing

*       Household finance relief

*       Physical and mental health care

*       Education of children and families

Qualified groups and organizations may apply for these grants by visiting

The governor said when it came time for phase two, facilities would be able to increase the number of people allowed inside, with six-foot distancing maintained. Screenings would continue in phase two, according to state officials. At phase two, walk-ins could be considered and in-person instruction at cosmetology and barbering schools may be possible.

Governor Hutchinson said when the state gets to phase three, normal operations would resume while maintaining good infection control.

The governor also said Friday he plans to get a hair cut when salons and barbershops are able to open, but says he might have to wait in line.

Governor Hutchinson announced Friday there was an increase of 66 coronavirus cases since the last announcement on Thursday, bringing the state’s total number of cases to 3,321.

Dr. Nate Smith, Secretary of the Arkansas Department of Health, said five of the 66 cases were from correctional facilities.

There were no new hospitalizations announced Friday, keeping the number of hospitalizations to 95.

The number of COVID-19 patients on a ventilator also remained 23 as of Friday, according to Dr. Nate Smith.

There were three deaths announced Friday, bringing the state’s death toll to 64. Dr. Nate Smith said of the three additional deaths, one was from a nursing home. According to Dr. Nate Smith, 23 of the total deaths were from nursing homes.

Dr. Nate Smith said there are currently 229 nursing home residents with confirmed cases and 142 staff. Both the number of residents and staff cases rose by seven between Thursday and Friday. Dr. Nate Smith said there are currently contact investigations in 40 nursing homes across the state.

The number of inmates with cases of the coronavirus at the Federal Correctional Institution in Forrest City increased by 34 to 135 inmates. Dr. Nate Smith said not all cases are in the ADH system.

Dr. Nate Smith also said officials re-categorized the recoveries to include individuals who were known to be recovered, but couldn’t be contacted to verify. Dr. Nate Smith said people who two weeks beyond were reclassified as long as they weren’t in the hospital.

Dr. Nate Smith said there were 1,284 active cases in the state.

Dr. Nate Smith also announced Friday that with approval from the governor, he appointed a COVID-19 Dental Advisory Group. They will give an input on directives and will meet early next week.

Dr. Michelle Smith asked Arkansans to remember as businesses reopen to continue wearing masks.

“Behind every mask is a story,” said Dr. Michelle Smith.

Governor Asa Huthinson also announced Friday that the CARES Act Steering Committee approved an $85 million to the Ready for Business Grants. This is subject to legislative review.

The governor also said he and his office are continuing to monitor evictions. He says he does not want landlords to take advantage of the situation. Hutchinson encouraged Arkansans who were not able to pay rent or mortgage due to a loss of income because of the coronavirus to reach out. He said there is relief and help. The governor said while there may be eviction filings, courts are not acting. The governor said eviction notices can still be given due to non-payment that is not related to COVID-19 and illegal activity.

Mike Preston, Secretary of Commerce, said Friday the system for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance is in testing phase and he hopes to have it ready to go in a matter of days. He also said payment would be backdated to when the business was first impacted.

Preston also said if a business chooses not to open, employees would still be eligible to receive unemployment. If an employee has been offered employment but refuses, Preston said it’s on the employee and it is up to employers to inform Workforce Services, and an unemployment claim would be considered fraudulent.

Michelle Smith said she wears her mask to protect her office and her parents. She said her mom was in the ICU earlier this year. Dr. Michelle Smith said she hopes “everyone will look past the mask and see a story”.

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