Arkansas salons, other businesses ordered to cease operations

Dr. Nate Smith speaks Monday during the governor’s press conference

Arkansas officials have ordered the temporary closure of several types of businesses due the increasing spread of coronavirus.

“Because we really need to decrease opportunities for the spread of COVID-19, we’ve made the decision to send out a directive for barber and beauty shops, nail salons, massage therapists, and tattoo studios to cease operation temporarily until we can get past our COVID-19 outbreak,” said Dr. Nate Smith, Secretary of Health.

The news came during Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s daily news briefing, held at 2:30 p.m. on Monday, March 23.

The governor has already ordered all bars and restaurants in the state to close dine-in services, but said takeout, curbside pickup and delivery operations could continue.

The halt of dine-in services has led to layoffs in restaurants, with one Fayetteville-based company announcing the firing of 400 employees across multiple locations.

Gov. Hutchinson last week updated state policy for people who’ve since lost their jobs due to the COVID-19 outbreak. Instead of having to wait a week to file state unemployment claims after being fired, Hutchinson ordered the Arkansas Department of Commerce to accept claims immediately. He also temporarily halted the mandatory 30-day requirement for people to search for a job before applying for unemployment benefits.