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Arkansas gyms allowed to reopen May 4th with restrictions

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced that gyms in the state can reopen with strict guidelines.

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Governor Asa Hutchinson announced that gyms and fitness centers in Arkansas will be allowed to reopen on Monday, May 4th.

Each gym will have to follow restrictions and safety measures. 

Staff and gym-goers will all be screened before entering the gym. 

Those who have recently traveled to New York, New Jersey, New Orleans and overseas will not be allowed to enter gyms.

People with COVID-19 symptoms, recent contact with a COVID-19 patient and anyone with a compromised immune system or chronic disease will also be denied entry. 

Everyone will be required to wear a mask except when actively exercising. 

Pools, spas, showers and saunas will not be open at this time. 

People must also keep a 12-foot distance while working out. Equipment must be sanitized after each use.

Team sports are still not permitted at this time.

City-owned fitness centers aren’t required to open and cities can decide not to open such facilities.

The governor says they will be making a decision on teen and youth sports reopening sometime in mid-May.

Dr. Nate Smith says that public swimming pools, both indoor and outdoor, will not reopen at this time. He says it's not the chlorine pool itself, but the showers and other surfaces being touched by several people.

On outdoor exercise, Dr. Nate Smith said UV light can help to inactivate the virus, and wind can disperse it, but there are risks. Runners can leave a plume of the virus behind them and that’s why we need to leave plenty of space between individuals. 

Credit: KFSM

COVID-19 numbers in the state as of April 30, 2020:

  • 3,255 cases (up 63)
  • 1,888 active cases
  • 95 hospitalizations (up 2)
  • 61 deaths (up 2)
  • 2,520 tests performed in the last 24 hours in the state.
  • 23 on ventilators (up 5)
  • 22 of total deaths are associated with nursing homes
  • 1,305 recoveries (up 56)

Gov. Hutchinson says the state was surprised by the heavy response to the Ready for Business Grant program. He says they opened the website prematurely for less than an hour and still got 2,300 applications for $36 million when funding was only $15 million. He says they are working with legislation to get more funding. 

Regarding elective surgeries in Arkansas, the Arkansas Department of Health says not all facilities are well-prepped to perform them. The governor says they are trying to expand lab capacity to make it possible for all facilities currently. 

RELATED: Arkansas Ready for Business grant program announced

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