Arkansas bans gatherings of more than 10 to curb virus

Coronavirus

Gov. Asa Hutchinson, right, speaks along with Larry Walther, middle, Secretary of the Department of Finance and Administration and Jake Bleed, state budget director, Monday March 23, 2020 in Little Rock about the state’s budget shortfall during a daily press conference in Little Rock. Arkansas faces a $353 million budget shortfall because of the economic fallout from the coronavirus outbreak. (Staton Breidenthal/The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette via AP)

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Arkansas is banning indoor and enclosed outdoor social gatherings of more than 10 people, with few exceptions, in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said Thursday that the directive doesn’t apply to businesses, manufacturers, construction companies, places of worship, government or the judiciary. But it does ban sporting events, concerts, conferences, conventions, fundraisers, parades, fairs, and festivals.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson says the order is needed to avoid imposing a sweeping shelter-in-place order as in other states.

The virus has infected at least 335 people in Arkansas and is blamed for three deaths. 

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