Restaurants will open for limited dine in service on May 11.

33 percent of the occupancy rate will be permitted through phase one. Physical distancing will be required between patrons, and reservations are encouraged, but not required.

Phase two will allow for 66 percent occupancy, while phase three will allow for full occupancy. There is a 14 day period between phases.

Masks and gloves are encouraged for staff members, while masks are encouraged for patrons until the time their food is served. Daily screenings for staff members will be required.

Bars will remain closed during phase one.  Any restaurant with a bar will be required to leave the bar closed until a later date, however, alcohol is permitted to be sold to sit down patrons.

Below you can find a list of requirements to re-open limited dine-in:

  • Physical distancing between patrons and tables
  • Reservations encouraged
  • Face coverings
  • Gloves for staff
  • Daily staff screenings
  • Frequent handwashing
  • Pre-order when possible
  • No groups over 10 people
  • Senior hour encouraged
  • No self-service
  • Clean, disinfect tables, menus after each meal
  • Bars and entertainment within restaurants prohibited

To help employers prepare for the reopening, the Governor announced the creation of a $15 million grant called Arkansas Ready for Business which will pay employers up to $100,000 to buy items such as personal protection equipment for employees, cleaning stations and supplies, hand sanitizer and the like.

He said that the reason May 11 was selected was that restaurants might need time to recall and train employees and rearrange their restaurants to meet the six-foot space between tables.

One of the guidelines for reopening is that employees wear gloves and masks and State Health Officer Dr. Nate Smith said those masks don’t have to be the N-95 type that health care workers wear but instead could be cloth masks that can be washed and reused. As far as gloves are concerned, Smith said it is important that they either be changed on a regular basis or washed at the same time employees wash their hands.