By Ray King
Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday announced that restaurants in the state which have been prohibited from dine-in service because of the Corona virus pandemic will be able to resume that service on a limited basis May 11.
The businesses will be limited to 33 percent service in phase 1 of the plan, which will increase to 67 percent in phase two and finally to 100 percent occupancy in phase three. (See all the requirements in a separate story)
At his daily press conference, Hutchinson said an additional 81 cases of COVID-19 were reported between Tuesday and Wednesday, bringing the total number of reported cases to 3,192. There were 93 patients hospitalized, a decrease of 11 from Tuesday. Seven additional deaths were reported, bringing the total in Arkansas to 59.
State Health Officer Dr. Nate Smith said of the 3,192 total cases reported, 1,884 of them are active cases. A total of 1,249 people were listed as having recovered from the virus.
For the first time in several days, no new cases were reported at Cummins prison near Grady where more than 800 inmates tested positive for the virus. Smith said a total of 11 inmates have been hospitalized, three at UAMS in Little Rock, seven at Jefferson Regional at Pine Bluff and one in a mobile field hospital at the prison.
With restaurants and other businesses reopening, the Governor was asked about curfews that a number of cities, including Pine Bluff have imposed and said he was not aware of any new curfews that had been imposed. Regarding the ones currently in place, Hutchinson said the decision on whether to lift them or not would be up to local mayors.