On Thursday, March 26, Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson issued a proclamation, an amended executive order regarding the public health emergency concerning COVID-19. The purpose of the proclamation, to restrict gatherings to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
That proclamation reads as follows:
WHEREAS: an outbreak of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) has spread throughout China and to 59 other countries and territories, including the United States; and
WHEREAS: COVID-19 has been detected within the State of Arkansas and adjouining states, threatening the public safety of the citizens of Arkansas; and
WHEREAS: Great hardship has been brought to bear upon the citizens this state as result of the spread of COVID-19; and
WHEREAS: On March 11, 2020, by Executive Order 20-03, an emergency was declared in the state as a result of COVID-19, and that emergency is on-going; and
WHEREAS: Citizens of the state have been advised to take precautions to prevent the spread of COVID-19, including the advisement to minimize person-to-person contact, avoid large gatherings, and to stay home if they feel ill; and
WHEREAS: Pursuant to Act 96 of 1913, Ark. Code 20-7-101 et seq., and the rules promulgated therefore, the Secretary of Health shall impose such quarantine restrictions and regulations upon commerce and travel by railway, common carriers or any other means and upon all individuals as in his judgement may be necessary to prevent the introduction of communicable disease into the State, or from one place to another within the State; and
WHEREAS: Ark. Code Ann. 12-75-101, et seq. authorizes the Governor to declare a disaster emergency. Ark. Code Ann. 12-75-114(e)(7) authorizes the Governor to control ingress and egress to and from a disaster area, the movement of persons within the area, and the occupancy of premises therein; and
WHEREAS: The Secretary of Health, pursuant to his authority, has issued a directive restricting gatherings of ten (10) or more people to limit the spread of COVID-19.
NOW, THEREFORE, I, Asa Hutchinson, Governor of the State of Arkansas, acting under the authority vested in my by Ark. Code Ann. 12-75-101, et seq., do hereby amend Executive Order 20-03 declaring an emergency in the State of Arkansas. The entire state is impacted by COVID-19, and I am declaring the entire state an emergency disaster area. In conjunction with the Directive of the Secretary of Health, I am ordering the following, effective as of 12:01 a.m., March 27, 2020, until further notice:
(1) All public and private gatherings of any number of people occurring outside a single household or living unit are subject to the following directives and exceptions:
a. Due to the high risk of community spread of COVID-19, gatherings of more than ten (10) people in any confined indoor or outdoor space are prohibited until further notice. Gatherings subject to this directive include, without limitation, community, civic, public, leisure, commercial, or sporting events, concerts, conferences, conventions, fundraisers, parades, fairs, and festivals.
b. This directive does not apply to gathers of ten (10) or more people in unenclosed, outdoor spaces such as parks, trails, athletic fields and courts, parking lots, golf courses, and driving ranges where social distancing of at least six (6) feet can be easily achieved.
c. This directive does not apply to businesses, manufacturers, construction companies, places of worship, the Arkansas General Assembly, municipal or county governing bodies, or the judiciary; however, these entities are advised to limit person-to-person contact and maintain appropriate social distancing of at least six (6) feet to prevent the spread of this virus.
d. The Secretary of Health reserves the right to exercise authority to prevent the spread of disease in this state if, in his judgement, any of the excluded entities are operating in a manner that is a risk to public health.
(2) Pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. 20-7-101, violation of a directive from the Secretary of Health during this public health emergency is a misdemeanor offense, and upon conviction thereof is punishable by a fine of not less than one hundred dollar ($100)nor more than five hundred dollars ($500) or by imprisonment not exceeding one (1) month or both.
IN TESTIMONY WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand and caused the Great Seal of the State of Arkansas to be affixed to this 26th day of March, in the year of our Lord 2020.
Asa Hutchinson, Governor