LITTLE ROCK, Ark. – The Natural State is six months away from experiencing the total eclipse and some businesses are already seeing an impact.
Susan Maddox is the owner and innkeeper of Rosemount B&B Cottages in Little Rock; she says she started to receive calls in August of 2023 for bookings for the April 2024 eclipse.
“We don’t set our calendars that far in advance,” Maddox goes on to say. “They (callers) acted like it was just the most normal thing in the world to make a reservation.”
The total eclipse is expected to block the sun while passing through cities and communities in Arkansas on April 8, 2024. Two-thirds of the state will be in the path of totality, which will run through the center of Arkansas from southwest to northeast.
Maddox said as of now they’re completely booked for the eclipse. She says booking this far in advance never happens.
“People were like don’t you have a couch somewhere, no we do not book our couches,” Maddox said.
She adds that even when she increased the prices, people were still booking, and she received calls, emails, and text messages from people far and wide.
“I had one woman call me from Pennsylvania,” Maddox said.
Dave Parker, who is the spokesperson for the Arkansas Department of Transportation said they’ve been preparing for the eclipse for two years.
“The predictions have 1.5 million visitors to the state,” Parker said.
Parker said they’ve been working on a traffic management plan.
“Identifying potential choke points, traffic choke points along that path from Texarkana to the west on up to Little Rock, Conway, and out the state.” Parker adds, ‘We will suspend all construction projects just to give people an easier way around.”
He said they’re hoping the visitors that come will leave the day after the eclipse to avoid any traffic jams.
“Once the eclipse is over that Monday afternoon, we are hoping people stay that night and leave Tuesday morning to slowly release the people out of the state because if everyone decides to leave Monday night we could have some real traffic problems,” Parker said.
Parker says many hotels are feeling the impact of the eclipse with reservations.
Officials with the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism said 20 of the 21 state parks in the path of totality are sold out, and they said the event impacts several state agencies, like representatives with the Department of Public Safety.
They add that the event impacts several state agencies, like representatives with the Department of Public Safety.
ADEM ARDOTs, the Department of Health and multiple other agencies have also been meeting regularly to plan for the 2024 Eclipse.