Arkansas takes different reopening approach

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In this April 10, 2019 file photo, Arkansas Gov. Asa Hutchinson speaks to reporters in his office at the state Capitol in Little Rock, Ark. (AP Photo/Andrew DeMillo)

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Parts of the Mid-South are taking different approaches to reopening local economies while health officials continue to battle COVID-19.

Starting Monday, Arkansas will allow gyms to reopen but all staff and patrons must be screened for COVID-19. Masks must be worn as much as possible and people must maintain a 12-foot distance while working out.

On Wednesday, close-contact personal services like hair salons will be allowed to reopen but only 10 people can be inside the business and clients should wait outside until it is their turn.

Arkansas restaurants will not be allowed to open until next Monday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the state is doing the best they can to take a cautious approach to reopening.

“Even if we were perfect in our prevention of COVID-19 transmission here in Arkansas, we’re not an island,” Arkansas Department of Health Secretary of Health Dr. Nathaniel Smith said. “We’re surrounded by other states, most of which have higher rates of COVID-19 per population.”

The governor stressed the importance of continuing social distancing practices, washing your hands frequently, wearing protective gear and encouraged people to stay home as much as possible.

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