Buffalo National River Closed Over Coronavirus Concerns


The National Park Service said the closure takes effect immediately and includes the river, trails, campgrounds and open spaces.

“It breaks my heart to have to close this incredible public park,” Buffalo National River superintendent Mark Foust said in a release. “It is, however, the right thing to do to protect the people that work here, live here, visit here, and love this place.”

Gov. Asa Hutchinson on Wednesday asked the federal government to close the park and imposed temporary restrictions on state parks, including prohibiting overnight use at them. Hutchinson, legislators and local officials have complained about large numbers of people crowding the Buffalo National River area.

For most people, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia, and death.


House Speaker Matthew Shepherd said Thursday that state Rep. Vivian Flowers has tested positive for the coronavirus.

Flowers is the second lawmaker to test positive for the virus, following state Rep. Reginald Murdock on Wednesday.

The announcement comes a week after lawmakers met for a marathon special session to approve a $173 million coronavirus fund. The House met at a 5,600-seat basketball arena instead of the Capitol due to coronavirus concerns.

The state’s health secretary and surgeon general told lawmakers in a letter Thursday that transmission was unlikely due to the social distancing measures taken during the session. They advised members to monitor their temperature and request testing if any symptoms develop. The Health Department will be reaching out to anyone thought to have had close contact with the lawmakers.

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