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This Governor Just Imposed a Statewide Curfew on Liquor

“This is a balanced approach that is limited and targeted as we work to reduce new COVID cases in our state.”
Little Rock, Arkansas

If you want a drink in Arkansas, you better get to the bar before 11 pm. "In an effort to reduce the spread of the virus as a result of prolonged social interaction in group settings, I am accepting the recommendation of the Winter COVID Task Force to require bars, restaurants, and clubs that sell alcohol for consumption in their establishment to close at 11 p.m.," Governor Hutchinson said. "This is a balanced approach that is limited and targeted as we work to reduce new COVID cases in our state." Read on to hear which businesses are affected, and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had Coronavirus

The Directive Covers Restaurants, Bars and Private Clubs

The directive covers restaurants, bars, and private clubs with "on-premise" permits. The directive is effective on Friday, November 20, 2020, and remains in effect through January 3, 2021.

Here's the directive in full:

Directive for hours of operation to Alcoholic Beverage Control on-premise permitted locations

Issued November 19, 2020

Effective November 20, 2020

Until January 3, 2021

The Secretary of Health, in consultation with the Governor, has sole authority over all instances of quarantine, isolation, and restrictions on commerce and travel throughout Arkansas, as necessary and appropriate to control disease in the state of Arkansas as authorized by Ark. Code Ann. §20-7-101 et seq., and the Rules Pertaining to Reportable Disease (2019).  Based on available scientific evidence, and in order to encourage the use of face coverings and social distancing, it is necessary and appropriate to take further action to ensure that COVID-19 remains controlled and that residents and visitors in Arkansas remain safe.

The Secretary of Health issues this Directive in conjunction with Executive Order 20-48

Alcoholic Beverage Control on-premise permitted locations shall close at 11:00 p.m. Pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 20-7-101, any person violating a directive from the Secretary of Health during this public health emergency may be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500) or by imprisonment not exceeding one (1) month, or both.

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Local Doctors Want Further Restrictions

To some, the Governor's efforts may not go far enough. "Nearly 300 doctors from around Arkansas are urging Gov. Asa Hutchinson to impose new restrictions to curb a surge in coronavirus cases," reported THV11. "A letter from the doctors was delivered to Gov. Hutchinson Wednesday (Nov. 18) as the state's COVID-19 hospitalizations hit a new record level. In the letter, they warned of the strain on the state's health care system."

The doctors asked that he close bars and gyms, and to limit restaurants to takeout service only.

"We have to hunker down like we did in March when there weren't that many cases, that's the irony of it all is that our cases our higher now, our deaths are higher now…42 deaths in a day? If that doesn't grab your attention, especially in a state with less than 3 million people? And we haven't even touched flu season yet, I mean, a lot of people get hospitalized due to pneumonia, where are we going to put those people?" said Dr. Anne-Marie Magre, who signed the letter.

RELATED: 21 Subtle Signs You've Already Had COVID

How to Survive the Pandemic—and Stop Infections From Spreading

No matter where you live, do everything you can to prevent getting—and spreading—COVID-19 in the first place: Wear your face mask, get tested if you think you have coronavirus, avoid crowds (and bars, and house parties), practice social distancing, only run essential errands, wash your hands regularly, disinfect frequently touched surfaces, stay outdoors more than indoors, and to get through this pandemic at your healthiest, don't miss these 35 Places You're Most Likely to Catch COVID.