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As the COVID-19 pandemic wears on, state and city officials continue to order closures of businesses and restrictions on public services and travel, while attempting to support citizens working, studying and isolating at home.

The Arkansas Traveler staff will update this timeline as more information is made available.

April 4: Gov. Asa Hutchinson issued an executive order prohibiting occupancy of commercial lodging such motels, hotels and short-term rentals, except for specific groups of people. These include healthcare professionals, first responders, law enforcement professionals, journalists, patients of hospitals and their family members, displaced persons and others.

April 2: The National Park Service announced that the Buffalo National River will be closed to recreational use until further notice. This includes use of the River, trails, open spaces, and campgrounds.

March 30: Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan announced that the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market at the Fayetteville Downtown Square and Gardens will be postponed until at least April 25, 2020.

The Saturday Market at Evelyn Hills Shopping Center will continue operating on Saturdays from 7 a.m. to 8 a.m. for senior citizens only, and 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. for all customers. Vendors will be spaced out and only offer farm products considered essential, and hand-washing stations will be available. The market has implemented an online ordering and pickup system to limit person-to person contact.

The Arkansas Department of Health issued an extension of a March 16 directive closing all casinos in the state. Casinos must remain closed until April 30 at the earliest.

The ADH revised its travel advisory and is recommending 14-day self-quarantine for all travelers returning from New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, New Orleans and all international locations.

At the governor’s daily press briefing, Stacy Hurst, secretary of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, announced that state parks would remain open. However, lodges, bathhouses, visitors centers, museums and exhibits have been closed, she said. Camping is restricted to RVs with self-contained bathrooms.

March 29: The Arkansas Department of Health issued a travel advisory recommending 14-day in-home quarantine for all travelers from New York State and international locations.

March 27: City officials announced that although City Hall is closed, all City Council and committee meetings will continue to be open to the public. They will be held online via Zoom. Instructions and meeting codes for each meeting will be published on the city’s website 24 hours prior to the meeting.

March 26: Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that internet companies increased speeds to accommodate people working remotely. Hutchinson has pressed the industry to continue making adjustments amid slowdowns and increased demand, he said. Both Cox and AT&T have pledged to keep public Wi-Fi hot spots open and to waive late fees and non-payment service terminations during the pandemic.

March 24: Mayor Lioneld Jordan announced that city park amenities are closed until further notice, but parks, trails and the Walker Park restrooms will remain open. Groups that do not practice social distancing on city park property, such as sports teams, are prohibited.

March 23: Hutchinson announced that all Arkansas barber shops, body art establishments, cosmetology businesses, massage therapy clinics, and medical spas must close.

Fayetteville Animal Services and the Fayetteville Police Department front lobby closed to the public. People wanting to adopt a pet can call Animal Services to inquire about the animal they are interested in, and potentially set up a time to meet it.

March 21: The Arkansas Department of Health issued regulations requiring public K-12 schools to close until April 17, bars and restaurants across the state to stop providing dine-in services, and gyms and indoor entertainment venues to close completely.

March 19: Jordan announced that dine-in service at bars and restaurants in Fayetteville would not be permitted, but takeout, curbside and home delivery services may continue.

Officials from Fayetteville’s Recycling and Trash Collection Division announced the suspension of Fayetteville’s curbside recycling program, effective March 23. The Parks and Recreation department closed its office and most public restrooms in city parks until further notice.

Jordan issued regulations requiring theaters, auditoriums, meeting halls, and banquet facilities to observe an occupancy rate of no more than 50 and ensure that patrons, performers and staff are seated at least six feets apart.

March 18: Jordan announced that City Hall would be closed to the public starting March 19, and city employees capable of working remotely had been directed to do so.

March 16: City officials announced that the Fayetteville Senior Activity and Wellness Center would be closed to the public, but home-delivered meals and essential taxi services would continue.

March 13: Jordan declared a public health emergency in Fayetteville.

March 12: Jordan suspended work-related air travel for city employees and directed managers to reevaluate plans for work-related out-of-state travel by car. He encouraged city employees to practice good judgment when considering personal travel.

Sarah Komar is a staff reporter for The Arkansas Traveler.

Abby Zimmardi is a staff reporter for the Arkansas Traveler, where she has been a staff reporter since April 2019.

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