In the continuing effort to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the Arkansas Health Department has issued a directive that Arkansas businesses that are licensed to sell and allow consumption of alcohol on their premises must close by 11 p.m., Governor Asa Hutchinson announced today (Thursday, November 19, 2020). 

The directive covers restaurants, bars, and private clubs with “on-premise” permits. The directive is effective on Friday, November 20, 2020, and remains in effect through January 3, 2021.

“In an effort to reduce the spread of the virus as a result of prolonged social interaction in group settings, I am accepting the recommendation of the Winter COVID Task Force to require bars, restaurants, and clubs that sell alcohol for consumption in their establishment to close at 11 p.m.,” Governor Hutchinson said. “This is a balanced approach that is limited and targeted as we work to reduce new COVID cases in our state.”

The Arkansas Health Department’s directive follows:

Directive for hours of operation to Alcoholic Beverage Control on-premise permitted locations Issued November 19, 2020
Effective November 20, 2020
Until January 3, 2021

The Secretary of Health, in consultation with the Governor, has sole authority over all instances of quarantine, isolation, and restrictions on commerce and travel throughout Arkansas, as necessary and appropriate to control disease in the state of Arkansas as authorized by Ark. Code Ann. §20-7-101 et seq., and the Rules Pertaining to Reportable Disease (2019). Based on available scientific evidence, and in order to encourage the use of face coverings and social distancing, it is necessary and appropriate to take further action to ensure that COVID-19 remains controlled and that residents and visitors in Arkansas remain safe.

The Secretary of Health issues this Directive in conjunction with Executive Order 20-48.

Alcoholic Beverage Control on-premise permitted locations shall close at 11:00 p.m.

Pursuant to Ark. Code Ann. § 20-7-101, any person violating a directive from the Secretary of Health during this public health emergency may be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor and upon conviction thereof shall be punished by a fine of not less than one hundred dollars ($100) nor more than five hundred dollars ($500) or by imprisonment not exceeding one (1) month, or both.

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