Gov. Asa Hutchinson used Tuesday’s daily press briefing to tell Arkansans that he has extended the state of emergency in the state for an additional 45 days.
The original proclamation was set to expire on May 21, this 45-day extension means the emergency will now expire on July 5.
The reason Hutchinson gave for extending the emergency was that Arkansas is not finished with the work necessary for going back to normal. According to the governor, there is still work to be done that requires the emergency declaration to be in effect.
As of Tuesday, there were 38 new coronavirus cases in Arkansas with 89 hospitalizations, 16 of which are on ventilators with 83 total deaths. With 1,364 active cases, Arkansas is one of only 15 states with a downward trajectory of cases of COVID-19.
Hutchinson showed a graph that depicted the rolling seven-day average where Arkansas is on a steady downward trajectory, enabling the state to continue in the first phase of reopening.
While hospitalizations were down on Tuesday, Hutchinson stated the number has plateaued and he hoped for it to continue going down.
Compared to the the rest of America, Arkansas is in the lower half of states with new cases over the last week. Florida is the only other state in the South with a downward trajectory.
Tuesday saw another restriction lifted where state parks are to allow out-of-state overnight visitors as long as they are not from states with “hot spots.” A state is considered to contain a hot spot if the state has an increasing number of cases and has a higher risk of contagion than Arkansas.
While the state continues to cautiously remove safeguards, Hutchinson feels confident Arkansas will be able to handle out-of-state visitors to the state parks.
The governor noted that although state revenue is down 28.3%, he did not feel it was enough to shut down the economy. He also pointed out the current trust fund for the unemployment insurance was still adequate despite its heavy use.
The Arkansas Department of Health is also monitoring and able to investigate any complaints they receive of people not adhering to social distancing guidelines. Health Secretary Nate Smith hopes any investigation includes a conversation and cooperation between the health department and those in violation.