Mayor Sanders gives COVID-19 update

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

During Monday’s COVID-19 press conference, Blytheville Mayor James Sanders answered questions regarding the reopening of certain businesses in the state.

“In regards to the state opening up, the country is talking about opening up because there are several states in our country that shut down,” Mayor Sanders said. “The city of Blytheville and the state of Arkansas did not just shut down. There were some organizations moved by our governor’s directives, however, grocery stores and other essential businesses were still open for people to go to.”

Sanders continued, “So, when these states are talking about opening up it was only because they shut down. What we will be doing, according to the governor, is lifting some of the restrictions that are already in place. In that point he also stated that we are looking at reducing or releasing these restrictions in and around May 4th. However, this targeted lifting date depends upon you, and the restrictions that you follow now, and what you have been doing to slow the spread of COVID-19.”

Mayor Sanders also gave future dates in which the governor will announce information on whether or not restrictions for certain businesses will be lifted.

Sanders said, “On April 29th the governor will announce information in regards to restaurants. They will be measured about their movements, the Department of Health is going to be placing guidelines and they will be discussing those as to what will be required from restaurants.”

“On April 30th they will be announcing the restrictions for the gymnasiums, on May 1st beauty and barbershops, and on May 4th, depending on whether or not restrictions are followed and if people in the community have been battling the curve, the same thing will go for large venues,” the mayor said.

He added, “This all rests on us. We have to be conscious of the fact that up until almost four weeks after this COVID-19 hit our country, Arkansas did not get hit.”

Blytheville Police Chief Ross Thompson said that officers are approaching those that are gathering in large crowds, and that there has also been a spike in the number of domestic violence cases since the outbreak.

“As the weather gets nicer we are observing large crowds of people gathering, we are approaching these groups and trying to remind them of the health problems that COVID-19 presents to the community,” Thompson said.

“The department continues to see an increase in domestic violence cases,” he continued. “ We want to remind everyone that if you are in a violent relationship to get out, the Haven is available to us here in our area.”

Thompson said that 7 of the 13 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Mississippi County are within the Blytheville zip code area. As of Tuesday morning, Craighead County had 68 positive tests and 711 negatives, with 36 recoveries. Mississippi County had 13 positives, 139 negatives and eight recoveries. Poinsett County had 18 positives, 94 negatives and seven recoveries.