LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Gov. Hutchinson announced that businesses that have licenses to sell alcohol must close by 11 p.m., as directed by the Winter COVID-19 Task Force.
The statement released by the governor said, "In the continuing effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Arkansas Health Department has issued a directive that Arkansas businesses that are licensed to sell and allow consumption of alcohol on their premises must close by 11 p.m."
The announcement covers any businesses that operate under an "on-premise" liquor permit, which includes restaurants, bars, and private clubs.
The directive begins tomorrow, Friday, Nov. 20 and will remain in effect through Jan. 3, 2021.
“This is a balanced approach that is limited and targeted as we work to reduce new COVID cases in our state,” Gov. Hutchinson said.
If a business violates the directive, it or a person can be punished by a fine not less than $100 or more than $500 or imprisonment not exceeding more than 1 month, or both, according to the Gov. Hutchinson's statement.
On Thursday, the Arkansas Department of Health reported 2,238 new COVID-19 cases and 22 more deaths.
COVID-19 hospitalizations are currently at 899 and there are only 68 ICU beds available across the state.
We will update this article with more information as it becomes available.