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Gov. Hutchinson says Arkansas restaurants can remain open during coronavirus pandemic

Governor Asa Hutchinson said that restaurants in the state can operate "on their own choosing and based upon market demand."

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — During a press conference Monday, Governor Asa Hutchinson said Arkansas restaurants can remain open at this time during the coronavirus pandemic.

Hutchinson's decision comes after governors in five states made the decision to close bars and restaurants in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.

"Our restaurants will continue to operate on their own choosing and based upon market demand," Hutchinson said.

Governors in California, Ohio, Illinois, Massachusetts and Washington have closed bars and restaurants as well as wineries.

Several restaurants have limited in-store seating, including nationwide brands like Chick-fil-A and Starbucks and local stores like Loblolly Creamery. Little Rock restaurant Scallions is offering delivery for those impacted by the virus and several other restaurants in the city have offered curbside pick-up.

Yellow Rocket Concepts is suspending all dine-in services at their restaurants until further notice across the entire state. That includes Lost Forty Brewing, Local Lime, Heights Taco & Tamale, ZaZa and Big Orange. The restaurants will still offer take-away, delivery and curb-side pick-up.

Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr. urged all restaurants in the city to transition to take out and delivery options in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.

The CDC announced Sunday that for the next eight weeks organizers should cancel or reschedule any events that involved 50 or more people.

As of Monday, 22 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in Arkansas with 132 testing negative for the virus. 

There are 258 being monitored for COVID-19, which is the disease caused by novel coronavirus.

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