By Ray King

Continuing his program to reopen businesses in Arkansas affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Asa Hutchinson on Friday announced that barber and beauty shops, spas, tattoo parlors and massage therapy facilities will be allowed to reopen May 6.

On Wednesday, the Governor announced that restaurants which had been limited to curbside or delivery service only will be able to reopen their dining rooms at diminished capacity on May 11 and on Thursday announced that gyms and physical facilities could reopen Monday.

Hutchinson also said when the shops reopen, they will have to comply with a series of directives to protect customers and themselves.

Additionally, face coverings and gloves must be worn by barbers, beauticians, etc., and by customers when it is practical.

“Obviously, if you’re getting a facial, you can’t wear a mask,” he said.

Other requirements include recording name and contact information on clients, screening clients such as taking temperatures and determining if they had been to any COVID-19 hot spots or traveled out of state.

The directive does not apply at this point to barber and beauty schools.

In his daily COVID-19 update, the Governor said 66 new cases of the virus were reported in the past 24 hours, bringing the state total to 3,321. There are 95 people hospitalized, the same number as Thursday, and three additional deaths were reported, bringing the state total to 64.

State Health Officer Dr. Nate Smith said five of the newly reported cases were at the Federal Correctional Facility in Forrest City, and not all the positive results from that facility have been recorded yet. To date, 135 cases of COVID-19 have been reported at that federal prison.

Smith said of the three deaths reported, one of them occurred at a nursing home where there are 229 patients statewide who have tested positive for COVID-19. A total of 23 of the deaths statewide have occurred in nursing homes.

He also announced the appointment of a COVID-19 dental advisory group to make recommendations for procedures which dental offices in the state reopen. That is currently set for May 18.