Barbers, stylists, massage therapists, and more can reopen with limitations on May 6


Thanks to the barbershops and salons being closed over the past few weeks due to the coronavirus, it’s likely many stuck-at-home Arkansans currently have hair that looks like a fright wig.

However, at today’s COVID-19 briefing, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson laid out the first phase of lifting restrictions on barber, cosmetology, massage therapy, body art, and medical spa services beginning May 6. (See below for guidelines issued by the Arkansas Department of Health.)

Salon, barber guidelines

Barber salon guidelines 2

Dr, Michelle Smith (pictured above), director of the Office of Minority Health at the Arkansas Department of Health, said her office was working closely with barbershops and salons on the new guidelines.

For a look at the complete directive from the Arkansas Department of Health, see below.

ADH Directive for barbers and salons 1



Also at the briefing, Hutchinson displayed charts reflecting the latest statistics in fighting the virus, showing a slow, but steady decline in new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations. Below is a chart of the seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases in the state.

Seven-day rolling average of new COVID-19 cases

And below is the latest info on hospitalizations in the state throughout the past few weeks.

Number of hospitalizations 05012020

Hutchinson said while some of the current data shows the May 4 date doesn’t meet all the gating criteria, he said the state has flexibility on the target date, partially due to the decline in hospitalizations and new cases.


In terms of the Arkansas Ready for Business grant, the governor said the legislative council overseeing the fund recommended $85 million be added to the program after seeing the demand in applications during the short time the online link was live.

Officials also said the site for unemployment assistance for the self-employed is currently in the testing phase.


Dr. Smith also noted that many minorities have been at a disadvantage due to poverty and limited access to health care clinics during this crisis. She said there are grants available for minority-owned businesses to help with COVID relief. And she also recognized the Arkansas Black Hall of Fame for donating $1,000 to organizations for the purchase of face masks.


Here’s the latest stats from the briefing this afternoon:

  • There are 1,284 individuals that have tested positive in the state, while 1,973 have recovered. That recovery number is up 678 from Thursday, but officials noted many of the tests have been accumulating and that that state was catching up with the numbers.
  • Ninety-five are hospitalized with issues related to the coronavirus. No new hospitalizations were reported Thursday.
  • Twenty-three individuals are on a ventilator. No new patients going on a ventilator were reported Thursday.
  • There have been three additional deaths since Thursday, bringing the total number of deaths to 64. Twenty-three of the statewide total were nursing home residents.
  • There are currently 227 nursing home patients that have tested positive. That’s up seven from yesterday. And there are 32 nursing home staff members testing positive. That’s also up seven from Thursday. There are currently 30 contact investigations underway in Arkansas nursing homes.
  • At the federal correctional facility in Forrest City, 135 inmates are positive.
  • And, officials announced a dental advisory group is being formed to address COVID-19 issues.



The new White River Now mobile app has started featuring regular COVID-19 updates and podcasts. In addition to the updates featured on the White River Now family of radio stations, the COVID-19 podcast section also features new interviews with Stone County Judge Stacey Avey, Batesville Mayor Rick Elumbaugh, Independence County Judge Robert Griffin, state Sen. Stu Smith, and state Sen. James Sturch. Download the free White River Now mobile app today from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store, and keep up-to-date on all local and state coronavirus information and to listen to the streams of White River Now radio stations.

We also carry live feeds of Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s COVID-19’s briefings on-air at Arkansas 103.3, online at White River Now’s Facebook page, and through the Arkansas 103.3 stream on the White River Now mobile app on Arkansas 103.3.

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Get up-to-date local and regional news along with the latest sports and weather every weekday morning by listening to Gary B. on Ozark Newsline, broadcast from the First Community Bank Newsroom on Arkansas 103.3. White River Now updates are also aired weekday mornings on 93 KZLE, Outlaw 106.5, and 99.5 Hits Now. Have a news tip or event to promote? Email White River Now at Be sure to like and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Add don’t forget to download the  White River Now mobile app from the Google Play Store or the Apple App Store.


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