Coronavirus Coverage from KARK

Clarksville mayor shuts down his town to fight COVID-19 spread


CLARKSVILLE, Ark. – The number of COVID-19 cases is on a constant increase and hospitalizations are at an all-time high which is putting stress on smaller communities.

The city of Clarksville is seeing their medical personnel strained and limited space in their hospital. As the cases spiked and hospital rooms filled, the mayor issued an executive order to close down public facilities in the city. 

“The situation had changed quite dramatically,” mayor David Rieder said. “You know we were seeing a substantial stress on our medical staff and bed availability.”

Rieder said the mounting pressure on medical personnel forced him to take action, issuing an executive order to close all city park playgrounds, swimming areas, restrooms and other indoor and outdoor facilities that pose a risk of infection.

“Those areas where people tend to gather in bunch. We were limiting access to those for a temporary period of time,” Rieder outlined.

He is also encouraging employees to trade the office for the living room, if possible.

“Kind of like what we did back in Phase One,” Rieder described. “If you folks can work from home, we’re going to allow him to do it. Where we can protect people, we’re going to and give him an option to be safe.”

The mayor hopes this directive will bring the numbers down, which will in turn free up space in the hospitals.

“Maybe give them an opportunity to catch their breath and catch up to the to the pace of the number of cases that we were seeing,” Rieder said.

The directive goes until January 15, but Rieder says he can lift the order early if the cases drop and hospital space is freed. He also wants the community to know the pandemic is far from over. 

“We’re not out of this virus by a long shot.”

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