Gov. Asa Hutchinson will not extend a state directive requiring bars, restaurants and nightclubs that serve alcohol to close at 11 p.m.
Hutchinson announced on Tuesday, Feb. 2 that he would not be extending the directive, which is set to expire on Wednesday, Feb. 3. He issued the directive on Nov. 19 and updated it on Dec. 31, 2020.
During his weekly press briefing, Hutchinson said that the declining rate of COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations motivated his decision not to extend the directive. “That was important to have through Christmas and New Year’s,” he said.
On Tuesday, the Arkansas Department of Health reported that there were 1,510 new cases with 793 confirmed cases and 717 probable cases. There were 334 fewer active cases, bringing the state’s total active cases to 16,331
Currently, there are 869 COVID-related hospitalizations, a decrease of 20 from Monday. Ventilator usage also decreased to 141 on Tuesday.
However, there were 44 new deaths on Tuesday, bringing the state’s death total to 4,939.
The 11 p.m. curfew has been controversial for Arkansas bar and restaurant owners. A group of Northwest Arkansas restaurant, nightclub and bar owners filed suit against Hutchinson, Dr. Jose Romero and Alcoholic Beverage and Control Commission director Doralee Chandler.
This lawsuit was dismissed by Pulaski County Circuit Court Judge Wendell Griffenon Tuesday, Jan. 26.