Recreational swimming pools, splash pads, water parks and swim beaches can reopen on Friday, May 22, Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced during his Friday afternoon COVID-19 briefing.
Similar to other reopening announcements, several conditions must be met regarding swimming facilities.
For starters, people must be screened to ensure entry isn’t allowed for anyone with a fever or other COVID-19 symptoms, or anyone who’s had recent contact with a positive patient.
All facilities must operate at 50% capacity, and six feet of distancing must be maintained between people in all areas.
Hutchinson said markings must be in place to note the six-foot rule on slides, diving boards and anywhere else that lines form.
High-touch areas must be disinfected frequently, tables and chairs must be separated by six feet of space, and pool chemistry must be maintained and tested twice each day for proper pH levels.
Even more money announced for business grants
The state has allocated additional funds for the Arkansas Ready for Business grant program that was first announced last month, said Hutchinson.
The program was first limited to a total of $15 million, but was quickly exhausted. The state quickly added $40 million, and then approved another $93 million to meet a $147 million demand after the application period ended on Wednesday.
All industry sectors were eligible for grants of $1,000 per each full-time employee up to $100,000. Employee head counts were allowed to be backdated to March 1 to account for any employees that have been laid off since the pandemic began.
More elective procedures allowed
The governor said hospitals can begin to schedule elective procedures that require overnight stays of up to 48 hours on Monday, May 11.
Elective procedures were first given the green light to resume on April 27, but only for daytime surgeries that did not require an overnight stay.
Secretary of Health Dr. Nate Smith said the number of positive COVID-19 cases in Arkansas reached 3,747 on Friday, which is an increase of 82 since Thursday. Hospitalizations declined from 70 to 64, he said, and there were no additional deaths, so the toll stands at 88.