Arkansas lifts Phase 2 coronavirus restrictions

FILE - In this March 23, 2020 file photo, Gov. Asa Hutchinson, right, speaks in Little Rock Ark. Gov. Hutchinson is resisting issuing a broad stay-at-home order to curb the coronavirus outbreak, even as the state's cases continue to increase. Health officials on Thursday, March 2, 2020, said the number of coronavirus cases in the state had risen to at least 643, with two additional deaths. (Staton Breidenthal/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP File)

Arkansas governor Asa Hutchinson lifted the restrictions on the state and is allowing it to move into Phase 2 of its reopening following the COVID-19 pandemic. Phase 2 will commence Monday, June 15.

The governor said Arkansas is “not out of the woods,” and will extend the state of the emergency.

“Arkansas from the very beginning took a different path and didn’t shelter in place,” Hutchinson said.

The state has been in Phase 1 since May 4. Restaurants, youth activities, and barber shops have been among the opened businesses, though restrictions are in place. The governor noted that there have also been protests in the stat recently in the aftermath of George Floyd’s death at the hands of Minneapolis police on May 25.

“The gating criteria is based on the supposing that we’re going to peak like New York City or Louisiana did.”

Hutchinson added that the coronavirus spikes are trends “more like the rolling Ozark hills instead of the Colorado Rockies.”

According to the governor, there were 10,368 total COVID-19 cases in Arkansas. There have been an additional 288 cases over the past 24 hours. There have been 181 hospitalizations. There were four deaths over the past 24 hours, making it 165 total. Of the 288 new COVID-19 cases, three counties were predominant. Pulaski County added 51, Washington County 44, and Benton County 37.