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Fort Smith/Fayetteville News | 5newsonline KFSM 5NEWS | Get the local news and weather where you live from 5NEWS. Covering Fort Smith, Fayetteville, Bentonville, and all of Northwest Arkansas and the River Valley.

Local restaurants adjusting to lifted safety directives

Markham and Fitz in Bentonville says they have been able to keep steady business while enforcing previous safety directives.

Markham and Fitz in Bentonville says they have been able to keep steady business while enforcing previous safety directives, co-owner Lauren Blanco says they plan to continue those precautions. Blanco says they do not plan to increase their indoor capacity, but they are making additions to their outdoor seating.

Looking ahead, some restaurants are choosing to take a multi-step approach to reopening by increasing their capacity limits throughout time. Some restaurants are not changing the previous safety guidelines until there is further guidance from Governor Asa Hutchinson after March 31st.

“If we are testing an average of 7,500 a day with PCR and antigen tests and have a daily positivity rate of less than 10 percent, we will convert from a mask directive to guidance that strongly encourages masks but doesn’t require them. At the end of the month, if we haven’t met the threshold of 7,500 tests, then we can look at the number of hospitalizations. If the number of COVID patients in hospitals is less than 750 statewide, that will allow us to lift the mask mandate,” said Governor Hutchinson in his weekly radio address. 

It is up to each restaurant how many people they will choose to seat, but face masks are still required when people are not eating or drinking.