City of North Little Rock reacts to Gov. Hutchinson slowing the reopening of Arkansas

NORTH LITTLE ROCK, Ark — Just as North Little Rock was beginning to re-open, Governor Hutchinson put a stop to any further plans.

“We are not prepared to go into Phase Two, so it does delay us,” said Governor Hutchinson.

The governor said Arkansas still has a lot of work to do, so no one should assume the state will be ready to re-open in 14 days.

“There’s no doubt I’m just as disappointed as the governor is,” said North Little Rock Mayor Joe Smith.

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Just this week, North Little Rock announced pools and pavilions will have limited openings. Smith said they will continue this until the Arkansas Department of Health says otherwise.

“We are doing exactly what Dr. Smith has told us we are allowed to do that’s safe and at the same time, give our children an opportunity to enjoy some of the summer,” said Smith.

Down the street, Simmons Bank Arena is feeling the impacts of a long-term closure.

“We were one of the first ones to close and we will be one of the last to open,” said Simmons Bank Arena General Manager Michael Marion. 

“We don’t get any money from the taxpayers. Events is what keeps us going. We’ve set aside a reserve fund, but that won’t last forever,” said Marion.

RELATED: Spike in COVID-19 cases in Arkansas to be expected, official says

However, Marion said he doesn’t want to compromise the safety of Arkansans by opening too soon.

“We want this to work right. So, if we’ve got to wait a little longer so everybody feels good about coming back here, then that’s fine,” said Marion.

Governor Hutchinson said he would not give a timeline as to how long it would take until we could enter Phase Two, but he did add it would take a decrease in cases before he considered the idea.