Confirmed cases double: Barr closes county offices to public again

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

By Scott Loftis

As the number of confirmed COVID-19 cases in the county shot upward, Carroll County Judge Sam Barr announced Friday, June 12, that county offices would close to the public for a second time.

“Effective June 15, 2020, Carroll County offices will once again temporarily close its doors to the public except by appointment only,” Barr writes in an executive proclamation that declares an emergency in the county, citing a rapid increase in the number of confirmed cases.

Carroll County had 56 confirmed cases of the virus Friday morning and added another 24 over the weekend, bringing the total to 80 by Monday morning. That number includes 48 active cases. A week earlier, the county had 38 confirmed cases with 19 active.

County staff will continue to serve the public and conduct county business online and via phone and email from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, Barr’s proclamation says.

“We regret the limited access to our public offices, and will continue to monitor the situation in the coming days and weeks,” Barr writes. “We appreciate your patience as we navigate this situation going forward.”

Barr closed county offices for the first time in mid-March. The offices reopened at Barr’s direction on May 18, with restrictions that included temperature checks at the door and a limit of 10 patrons inside the building at a given time.

After Barr’s order was announced Friday, the Carroll & Madison Library System announced that public libraries in Berryville, Eureka Springs and Green Forest would be closed to the public until further notice beginning Monday, June 15. Curbside services will remain available.

The Holiday Island Suburban Improvement District Board of Directors canceled its regular meeting that had been scheduled for Monday morning, citing Barr’s order.

“The Executive Proclamation does not directly affect HISID; however, the Board of Commissioners believes its guidance to be well-founded,” the district says in an email announcing the cancellation. “In consideration of the Executive Proclamation and the increasing number of COVID-19 cases in Carroll County, the Board of Commissioners believes canceling its regularly scheduled meeting is in the public’s best interest.”

Also on Friday, organizers of the annual Bikes, Blues and BBQ motorcycle rally announced that event scheduled for Sept. 23-26, 2020, has been canceled. The event is based in Fayetteville but Carroll County, particularly Eureka Springs, is also a popular destination for riders attending the rally. According to a press release, the event was canceled “out of an abundance of caution and concern for the safety and well being” for the Northwest Arkansas community and nonprofits, attendees, vendors, staff and volunteers involved with the rally. The 21st annual rally is scheduled for Sept. 22-25, 2021.

“Until then, ride safe and stay healthy,” the release says.

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