Fayetteville cuts occupancy by half for restaurants and bars

Photo: Todd Gill, Fayetteville Flyer

Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan has issued an order to reduce occupancy limits for restaurants and bars during the coronavirus outbreak.

The news was announced Tuesday morning after City Council members on Monday voted unanimously to give the mayor extraordinary power to limit or prohibit public gatherings.

The order is effective immediately, and includes the following rules:

  • Bars and restaurants are required to observe an occupancy rate of no more than 50% of the total occupancy rate as set by the Fire Marshal.
  • Restaurants and bars are required to space tables and barstools at least six feet apart and limit party sizes to fewer than 10 people, as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).
  • Curb-side, drive-through and delivery services from restaurants may continue operations as usual at this time.

Officials said the purpose of limiting capacity in these establishments is to help “flatten the curve,” an approach recommended by multiple health and scientific organizations for slowing the rate of COVID-19 infections. Slowing infection rates, they said, helps prevent medical providers from becoming overloaded and reaching a point where they can no longer provide treatment to all those infected.

The new regulations will be reevaluated throughout the day, every day, and are subject to change based on compliance and information about the spread of COVID-19, according to a news release. The mayor anticipates more stringent methods may be required, the release stated.

Compliance will be enforced by the Fayetteville Fire Department. The public may contact the non-emergency line at 479-587-3560 with reports of observed non-compliance.

Jordan thanked the establishments that have already implemented social distancing practices.

From the release:

In conjunction with these new regulations, Mayor Jordan is reaching out to City Council members, regional leaders, county officials, local delegates to state government and others to drive support for social distancing and additional COVID-19 testing kits for Northwest Arkansas.

For additional information about the city’s efforts to combat COVID-19, visit fayetteville-ar.gov/covid19.