Fayetteville declares public health emergency amid COVID-19 pandemic


FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — The city of Fayetteville declaring a public health emergency Friday, in response to the coronavirus pandemic.​ Mayor Lioneld Jordan made the announcement Friday morning, saying this step is being taken out of an abundance of caution.​

Director of communications, for the city of Fayetteville, Lisa Thurber said, ​​”​knowing that there are cases that exist in Arkansas, listening to Governor Asa Hutchinson Thursday and thinking through what we could do to be most prepared as possible. This led the mayor to declare a  public health emergency”

“If you look at what has happened previously, with previous pandemics is that the one thing communities can do to stop the spread is to stop gathering,” said ​​Fayetteville Fire Chief, Brad Hardin. H was part of the conversation leading to the city of Fayetteville declaring a public health emergency friday morning.

Harding said there aren’t any reports of someone contracting COVID-19 in Fayetteville, however this is the city’s way to slow the spread of the virus.

​​​”We want to ensure people that we are here and we are doing everything possible to keep them safe so it may insight fear but we hope not. We are taking this action to protect them not to scare them,” said Hardin.

​​At this time, all city hosted meetings and events are postponed.​ Community members are also being  encouraged to reduce large gatherings.

​Hardin said it is better for the city to be prepared.​​ “​What’s going to go wrong if we did declare it and we were wrong then we have an egg on our face. We jumped on the edge and it was too fast but what if we come Monday have two dozens cases…where are we then.”

​​​After repeated phone calls and even a visit to his office, Mayor Jordan would not speak to KNWA and FOX24 directly. ​Thurber said they are working to develop a work schedule that will not have an impact on the city’s core services.​

​”​Instead of panic, be prepared we can all take steps to protect ourselves and others as we consider the potential spread of COVID-19,” said Thurber.

​We also reached out to the Cities of Rogers and Springdale and their mayors said they’re not considering declaring a state of emergency at this time but are closely monitoring the coronavirus pandemic. We also reached out to the city of Bentonville, and have not received a response.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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