Arkansas allowing pools, water parks to reopen this month
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas is allowing pools and water parks to reopen later this month with new restrictions intended to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Friday said the attractions will be allowed to reopen May 22. The move is the latest by the Republican governor to roll back restrictions that closed businesses because of the pandemic. The pools will be allowed to reopen at 50% capacity and no entry will be allowed for anyone with a fever, symptoms of the virus or who has had contact with a positive patient. At least 3,747 people in Arkansas have tested positive for the coronavirus.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-ARKANSAS CONCERT
Arkansas venue plans concert despite state's virus limits
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — An Arkansas venue is promoting a concert drawing more than 200 people next week despite limits the state has placed on large gatherings because of the coronavirus. Singer Travis McCready is scheduled to play at TempleLive in Fort Smith on May 15, three days before indoor entertainment venues are allowed to reopen in Arkansas. Even with the new rules, such venues can't allow more than 50 people in the audience. State health officials say they're in talks with the facility and that the concert can't happen unless it complies with the rules or they're assured it can be done safely.
VIRUS OUTBREAK-INMATE RELEASE
Arkansas releases 300 inmates early as virus precaution
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — Arkansas prison officials say 300 inmates have been released early from prison as a safety measure during the coronavirus pandemic. Dexter Payne, head of Arkansas’ correction division, said Thursday during court testimony that there will be additional releases once inmates are screened and cleared by the Parole Board. A spokesman for the prison system told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette that the releases came after Gov. Asa Hutchinson’s April 20 directive to consider the early release of inmates imprisoned for nonviolent and nonsexual crimes.
Man suspected in Minnesota killing arrested in Arkansas
WEST MEMPHIS, Ark. (AP) — A U.S. Marshals task force says a man has been arrested in Arkansas on a warrant related to a killing in Minnesota. The Marshals Service's office in Tennessee said in a news release that Orlando Franklin was arrested at a house in West Memphis, Arkansas, on Wednesday. Franklin had been wanted on a second-degree murder warrant stemming from an April 25 shooting death in St. Paul, Minnesota. Franklin is being extradited to Minnesota to face charges. He was arrested by members of the Gulf Coast Regional Fugitive Task Force. West Memphis sits across the Mississippi River from Memphis, Tennessee.
Judge rejects abortion clinic's bid to block virus test rule
LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) — A federal judge has rejected a request by Arkansas' only surgical abortion clinic to block a rule requiring a negative coronavirus test before a woman undergoes the procedure. U.S. District Judge Brian Miller rejected the motion to prevent the state from enforcing the requirement on three women nearing Arkansas' limit on when abortions can be performed. Arkansas bans abortions 20 weeks into a woman's pregnancy. Arkansas last week eased a ban on elective procedures that had prohibited surgical abortions. The state now requires a negative virus test within 48 hours of an elective procedure. The clinic says it contacted more than 15 testing locations but has been unable to find one that will test asymptomatic people and that’s able to have results within 48 hours.
Arkansas to ensure voter registration records get updated