LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday repeated his opposition to shutting down businesses and schools to reduce the spread of the coronavirus.
Hutchinson, speaking in an interview with Talk Business & Politics editor Roby Brock, said closing restaurants and other businesses would not be fair to owners who have followed state health directives and have worked to keep their facilities safe. The Republican governor has ordered restaurants, bars and clubs to limit their hours amid a surge in new cases but said stricter measures are “not the direction we should go.”
“It is just as wrong as can be for the government to come in and say ‘you’ve got to shut down again’ — even though you’re doing everything right and you’re not having any cases come out of there — because there’s a lot of pressure that we ought to shut down businesses,” Hutchinson said. “That is just not what we’re going to do.”
The White House Coronavirus Task Force recommended this week that the state reduce indoor restaurant capacity from 66 percent to 25 percent but Hutchinson declined, citing economic concerns. He said Friday that “we don’t have any data that says [restaurants] have been a problem.”