Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: As of April 13, authorities in Arkansas, US, maintain orders requiring nonessential businesses to close and banning gatherings indefinitely.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Little Rock, Arkansas
  • Bentonville, Arkansas
  • Fort Smith, Arkansas
  • Texarkana, Arkansas
  • Rogers, Arkansas
  • Jonesboro, Arkansas
  • Hot Springs, Arkansas

This alert began 13 Apr 2020 15:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Arkansas (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
As of April 13, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson maintains several executive orders in force, requiring nonessential businesses to close and banning gatherings of 10 or more people until further notice as part of the state's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). While authorities have not issued a stay-at-home order, they have imposed multiple restrictions on businesses and have ordered social distancing. Gatherings of 10 or more people are banned, and nonessential businesses such as gyms, entertainment venues, casinos, and barbershops must remain closed. In-person lessons at schools have also been canceled until further notice. Businesses considered essential may maintain their operations, but employees must maintain a proper distance from one another.

Authorities have also ordered commercial lodgings and short-term rentals to provide accommodation only to healthcare professionals, first responders and law enforcement agents, government and military personnel, airline crew members, and people unable to return to their homes. Health authorities in the state have also recommended all people traveling from abroad, or the states of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, and the city of New Orleans, to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival in Arkansas.

Significant transport and business disruptions are likely. Authorities will likely deploy additional security personnel to assist in enforcing the measures. Officials could amend the orders on short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by authorities in Arkansas are similar to actions adopted by other governments in the US and globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential travel in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

Government of Arkansas - COVID-19 Updates: www.healthy.arkansas.gov

Governor of Arkansas - COVID-19 Restrictions: https://governor.arkansas.gov