White House panel: Virus situation worsening in Arkansas

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A White House panel says the coronavirus situation is worsening in Arkansas and is recommending restaurants in most of the state limit indoor capacity to less than 25 percent, according to the Associated Press.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson rejected the recommended tighter limit, saying it would effectively put many restaurants out of business. Currently, the state is limiting bars, restaurants, and other businesses to two-thirds capacity.

The White House Coronavirus Task Force recommended the limit on capacity in counties classified as “red” or “orange.” The panel’s report was released by the state Tuesday.

The report said compliance for the state’s coronavirus rules among restaurants and bars is at 93 percent, yet the report also said the 7 percent not complying with the safety rules can still spell big trouble.

At today’s statewide briefing, Dr. Jose Romero, the director of the Arkansas State Health Department, said the worsening of the virus is like “…a boulder rolling downhill. There will come a time when we cannot stop it.”

The last two weeks have seen the daily average of new cases stay over 1,000, with a day last week having the most of any 24-hour period — over 2,100 new positive cases.

Romero again strongly stressed that Arkansas citizens need to exercise the three Ws:

  • Wear a mask.
  • Wash your hands frequently.
  • Watch your distance.

File image of Gov. Asa Hutchinson

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