People hitting state park lakes for Memorial Day weekend fun, despite COVID-19

Local News

HOT SPRINGS, Ark. — Governor Asa Hutchinson announces what he calls the second spike of COVID-19 as many begin to celebrate the Memorial Day holiday. 

Throughout the Coronavirus pandemic Arkansas has seen spikes in the number of cases, many of them have been from the prison system. Most of the new cases from Saturday were from Northwest Arkansas but Governor Hutchinson still expresses concern over the community spread.
Despite the increase of cases, folks were ready to get outside the house.

Many people went to Lake Catherine. With good weather and state parks open again folks were quick to take a dip in the lakes.

“We’re out here today because we’ve been stuck in the house, way too long,” Hot Springs County resident, Joshua Smith said. “We had to get out.”

Saturday had the perfect ingredients for Memorial Day weekend. 

“It’s definitely been a nice day because I’ve been wanting to swim for awhile now,” Gracie Smith, who was out for a swim said. 

Smith said that’s why his family and friends couldn’t resist kicking off their holiday Saturday. 
“Did a hike, and saw the falls and now we’re over here to swim,” Smith said.

Smith and his group weren’t the only ones out there.
“We thought it would be nice to go kayaking or hang out on the lake or enjoy all the beauty that Arkansas has to offer,” Louisiana resident, Sam Ortiz said.

Ortiz traveled into Arkansas Saturday from Shreveport, LA with her family. They were excited to take advantage of an ease on the travel restrictions. 

“For Memorial Day, I tend to gravitate towards the water, and so in Louisiana, unless you know somebody that has a boat it’s hard to get out on the water.,” Ortiz said. “So typically we come here.”

Ortiz was not bothered by the more than 40 other people out in the area of Lake Catherine. We asked about social distancing. 

“I don’t really have any concerns because we take the proper precautions and keep the right spread everything should be fine,” Smith said. 

“We haven’t gotten close to anybody here really,” Ortiz said. “When we were out in the water, we were like 10-15 feet away from people.”

During Saturday’s press conference, Governor Asa Hutchinson announced Arkansas saw it’s second peak of COVID-19 cases. Hutchinson reminded everyone to be smart. 

“This memorial weekend we want to be out, we want to enjoy ourselves, we want to remember this holiday. But let’s be safe and let’s be discipline at the same time,” Hutchinson said. 

This was advice travelers like Ortiz said they are already following and hope others will do the same. 

“You’re still able to social distance, I feel like and still enjoy,” Ortiz said. 
Park rangers were also out and about keeping a close eye on folks, making sure they are social distancing and staying safe. 

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