When the Harrison City Advertising and Tourism Promotion Commission met Thursday morning, officials discussed the local economic recovery, including restaurants for dine-in service.
Mayor Jerry Jackson said that when some restaurants re-opened under the state directive that people going in for a meal wear masks until they get their drinks or food, they started to get pushback immediately.
He said that patrons were refusing to comply with that directive and some restaurants were just “throwing up their hands” because they can’t enforce the face mask rule.
He said it could be a directive Gov. Asa Hutchinson might regret making.
“We wish he wouldn’t have made it because it’s not being enforced by either the restaurants, and we’re not going to enforce it,” Jackson said.
Convention and Visitors Bureau director Matt Bell said he had been to four different restaurants since dining rooms were allowed to re-open and only one had been adamant about enforcing the rule regarding masks.
“And you saw people walking out as a result,” Bell said.
But at a press briefing Thursday afternoon, Hutchinson urged Arkansans to continue following all directives as the economic recovery begins to slowly take place.
With the announcement that 42% of the 261 new positive cases reported Thursday were in Benton and Washington counties, Hutchinson disagreed with a suggestion that more onerous regulations should be placed on two counties in the state as a regional approach to virus management.
“Actually, I think the way we’ve approached it has demonstrated to be successful and important. It shows that, for example, in some areas of the state that they might have a low case load, it’s important to keep the statewide restrictions and guidelines in place and not make them exempt because they could be the next place that we might have a wave or an outbreak. And so, we have to remain vigilant across the state and I think it’s been important to have those statewide guidelines that we put into place.
“We’re in Phase One, we’ve opened up some of the economy. For example, restaurants. It’s one-third capacity. There’s limitations in place. We’re not going to go back, but we want people to follow those guidelines, make sure that they do everything they can to avoid the spread and we can get through this.”