FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Governor Asa Hutchinson this morning announced that effective immediately, all public health directives outside of mask-wearing will now be converted to public health guidelines.
A local bar owner and managers here in Fayetteville have been vocal about how curfews and mandates have negatively impacted their businesses. The announcement this morning has been something they’ve been waiting almost a year to hear.
“This is a huge relief to all the restaurant and bar owners specifically and all of their employees who have been worried about coming into work. Are we going to be fined if a guest is caught without a mask on or are going to be shut down,” says the owner of Piano Bar, Aaron Schauer.
“I am shocked. We have been the most regulated industry through this COVID-19 pandemic, I am shocked that he is lifting restrictions even though we would all love to get back to normal,” adds Manager of Maxine’s, Hannah Withers.
Their plans on how they’ll now conduct their businesses are each their own.
“We are not changing a thing, I mean we are still a group away from getting the vaccine, we are not changing anything,” says Withers
The owner of Piano Bar, Aaron Schauer, says they have been running at around 20% capacity, but plans to increase that.
“We will not reopen on at 100% of our capacity. We are going to cap our capacity at 50% and then we are not going to run around yelling at people telling them to social distance,” says Schauer.
I also spoke with State Epidemiologist, Dr. Jennifer Dillaha, and she says even with this announcement today businesses should continue to do their best to be responsible. She says the best business model is a responsible model, and we need to all do our part whether they’re mandates or guidelines.