Parade in Little Rock over the weekend causes concern amid COVID-19 crisis

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Videos and photos of people in Little Rock gathering for a parade raised lots of eyebrows.

This event wasn’t held by the city. 

Sunday, a line of cars was parading down Asher Ave. in Little Rock as people met for what some are calling a parade or block party. 

“I understand the want to go outside and wanting to congregate with your friends and wanting to be able to do whatever you’d like to do as a normal day or whatever,” Little Rock resident Christopher Johnston said.

The images have been shared thousands of times, leaving Johnston and many others wondering why social distancing was thrown out the window. 

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“Really just confusion and disappointment because this pandemic has been going on a while now. You would think that people would start taking it more seriously by now. This is a negative light,” Johnston said.

The videos show street fights and dozens of people gathered on the road.

“This type of light is very negative upon the city and makes our city as a whole look kind of irresponsible,” Johnston said.

Central Arkansas resident Chad Jones wants Governor Asa Hutchinson to act. 

“It’s going to take some form of order from the top executive in the state of Arkansas to make people see how serious it is,” Jones said.

While Johnston fears people will continue to disregard any orders. 

“I can’t lie, I feel like people would probably be rebellious against it,” Johnston said.

When it comes to social distancing, they both asked residents to think about how this will affect everyone.

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“Think of other people, think of the grandmother. Think of the aunt, the uncle, people who are at higher risk of contracting the disease and a higher risk of death,” Jones said.

THV11 did search social media to find someone who participated in the event and couldn’t find anyone who directly posted about it. 

When reached for comment, Little Rock Mayor Frank Scott Jr.’s office released the following statement:

“I am deeply disturbed and disappointed at the actions that occurred in our city over the weekend. Let me make this plain and clear-COVID-19 is not a game. Unfortunately, we are seeing too many people treat this deadly virus as if it is. Gatherings of ten or more are prohibited when at least six feet distance cannot be maintained; this is a directive from the governor. We saw enormous crowds yesterday of people gathering on Asher Avenue/Colonel Glenn Road and in parking lots. Our parks and trails are also experiencing increased groups of people. Please do not gather in groups of ten or more.

“The next two weeks will be critical to continuing to slow the spread of COVID-19. Little Rock has and will continue to lead by example and do everything within our power to protect the lives of our residents, health care workers, and first responders. We are doing all we can to be creative and respect the state’s commerce restriction in the governor’s state of emergency order, which prohibits local governments from creating shelter-in-place orders. Therefore we will ramp up our current efforts to ensure the health and safety of our residents. If you are loitering in groups of ten or more, you will be fined to the maximum extent of the law. In addition, I am issuing an executive order to prohibit caravanning, also to carry a maximum fine allowed by law.

“Let me reiterate that this is a deadly virus. Not only are you potentially exposing yourself to harm, you may be exposing your loved ones as well.”