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Out-of-state travelers can stay in hotels, lodges and Arkansas state parks again

People from out-of-state can now travel to Arkansas after more restrictions were lifted Tuesday by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — People from out-of-state can now travel to Arkansas after more restrictions were lifted Tuesday by Gov. Asa Hutchinson.

Stephanie Ferguson is the director of sales for McKibbon Hospitality. The company owns four hotels in the River Market, one of which had to be shut down. 

Dozens of workers have also been laid off; 20 workers are still employed between the four hotels.

"Unless they were coming in for very specific reasons, we had to turn people away," Ferguson said.

Tuesday Gov. Asa Hutchinson lifted the out-of-state travel restrictions, a relief for Ferguson.

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"We're excited to not be turning people away anymore," she said.

People traveling from hot spots, like New York City and New Orleans, are still not allowed to travel in state.

"You would have to quarantine in place for 14 days," Stacy Hurst said.

Hurst, the Secretary of Parks and Tourism, is working with hotels and state parks to ensure they do not take reservations from people in these areas.

"If they make that reservation online, we will have to follow up with a phone call or e-mail to let them know about the restriction," she said.

All other out of state travelers will be allowed to camp in an RV in all state parks.

"We're not opening the lodges and cabins at the state parks until May 15," Hurst said.

Tent camping is also still not allowed for anyone.

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"We are looking at that for the second phase," Hurst said.

Ferguson is working to ensure her hotels are deep cleaning after every guest.

"The hotels have always used hospital-grade cleaning products. Then Hilton recently announced they are going to be partnering with Lysol next month," she said.

Ferguson is hopeful the tourism industry will bounce back eventually.

"I don't think it'll be this year, unfortunately, but hopefully in the next twelve to eighteen months," she said.