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Restaurants respond to Governor Hutchinson extension of Public Health Emergency

JONESBORO,AR- Governor Hutchinson announced Friday that he will extend the COVID-19 public health emergency until March 31.

The news about restaurants opening to 100% capacity, was a surprise to fat city steak and grill house managing partner tom fielder.

He says he took all weekend to fuller understand what was happening and what they can do for their restaurant.

“We’re glad to hear him begin to take that step that gets us back to normal. I think everybody is ready to get back to normal. We have lived with this now for almost a year and if you are in the retail industry, the restaurant industry, it has been challenging to say the least,” Managing partner, Fat City Steak and Grill House, Tom Fielder said.

The extension will include business protection, remote learning, tele-health, and more.

All the public health directives have now been changed to guidelines.

The limits being lifted include capacity limits of bars, restaurants, gyms, and large venues.

Fielder says he hopes at some point they can get rid of the mask mandate and guidelines. But for now, the most important thing is this employees and customers safety.

“So, are we going to open it up because there is no longer a penalty, involved, no we’re not. We’re going to continue to be safe, be vigilant, diligent in how we handle tables, customers,” Fielder said.

If people were to do away with wearing a mask and stop distancing, fielder says the cases will increase and that not what he wants.

Fat City will start slowing making changes as number continue to drop.

He says if experts say it’s safe for people to stop wearing a mask, he will trust their opinion.

“We are certainly ready to get rid of them, but we do need to proceed with I think with a certain amount of caution because we do not, we cannot afford another increase and see us shut down like we were,” Fielder said.

Fielder says he will leave the mask requirement up to his employees and customers if the mandate ends March 31.


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