Arkansas sets goal of May 4 to begin lifting restrictions, governor says

Joplin Area Coronavirus

Courtesy of KNWA

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Governor Asa Hutchinson announced on Friday that May 4 is the target date for Arkansas to begin lifting restrictions currently in place due to COVID-19.

To achieve this goal and enter ‘Phase One’ of President Donald Trump’s White House Guidelines for Opening Up America Again, the state must meet the criteria set out by the federal government.

“We have to be able to manage the spread to be able to continue to reduce that,” Governor Hutchison said. “We need everyone’s cooperation in terms of social distancing and sticking with the guidelines and not giving up and protecting one another.”

While Arkansas meets some of the criteria to begin ‘Phase One’ of the White Houses’ three-phase guide to reopen the country, the state still needs to see a decrease in positive cases.

“We need everyone’s corporation as Dr. Smith said in terms of social distancing, sticking with the guidelines, and not giving up and protecting one another,” Governor Hutchinson said.

Under ‘Phase One’ restaurants can operate under strict physical distancing protocols, so KNWA/KFTA asked Renzo’s Pasta & Italian Steakhouse Owner Robert Lorenzo Lee how his business plans to prepare for dine-in customers again.

“We’ve got everything in place already that everybody trusted, now we just need to get in and show them, ‘hey guess what, we’ve upped the game,’” Lee said.

Lee said his business is ready to make any of the necessary changes it needs in order to get back to some sort of normality.

We’ve gotten smarter, we’ve gotten better at certain things.


This is something Fish City Grill Owner Brett Brundige agrees with.

Restaurants have never been as clean as they are now.


At the end of the day, both Lee and Brundige said the goal is for them to be able to build on the relationships they had pre-COVID-19.

“Look if they tell us we can only have one table at a time, I’ll take it,” Brundige said.

“The thing is you need to get back to what business really is and that’s relationships,” Lee said. “That’s what we’re looking forward to.”

Governor Hutchinson noted the state is still a long way from a full opening.

“Wear your mask when you’re out in public and you can’t social distance,” Hutchinson said. “If we do that, then in the next two weeks, we will be in a position on May 4 to be able to say that we’ve met that criteria. We’re going to be able to have a little bit more of a normal life.”

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