• 75°

Batesville enjoying gradual reopening

Batesville businesses are enjoying the next step of reopenings made possible through Gov. Tate Reeves’ easing of restrictions on Monday of this week.

Dining rooms can reopen in restaurants and bars at 50 percent capacity. They must also screen customers and employees upon entering, and all employees must wear masks. Bars that do not serve food must remain closed.

Also remaining closed are hair salons and fitness centers. Reeves said in his Monday press conference that medical advisors have told them those retail outlets should remain closed until the next phase of reopenings. Batesville Mayor Jerry Autrey and the board of aldermen welcomed the news, saying they fully support the Governor’s decision to begin the reopening phase. City businesses have been hurt tremendously by the economic fallout from the shutdowns caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, he said.

The gathering limitation for outdoor activities has increased from 10 to 20, while it remains at 10 for indoor activities.

“This is a start,” Reeves said. “We’ll continue to evaluate and move up from here.”

Reeves also spoke on barber shops and salons, saying they have spent more time on this topic than any other over the past two weeks. However, at this point they are not able to reopen.

“We’ll get there, but I can’t do that today,” Reeves added. “I want you to get back to work, but I can’t put the people of our state at unreasonable risk.”

The Batesville city board met Tuesday afternoon, after press deadline, and were expected to discuss any steps the city should be taking as their gradual reopenings continue.The order goes into effect Thursday and will remain in place until Monday, May 11.

Reeves also encouraged families to use parks and public facilities, in groups of 20 of less and with social distancing, and enjoy the sunny, spring days of late. He said kids need to “swing bats” and advised that sports teams could begin to hold practices with parents remaining in their vehicles, or standing alone and avoiding gathering in groups.