Kim Williams, travel writer ; Arkansas Tourism – Arkansas Welcome Centers have hosted guests from across the globe for decades, providing information on attractions, lodging and dining to millions of visitors. In mid-March, as COVID-19 began to circulate, the centers temporarily closed their doors. Over the next nine weeks, a plan was developed to reopen with one major emphasis…safety. The safety of travelers and staff members became a priority. The Arkansas Welcome Centers, which operate in partnership with the Arkansas Department of Transportation, reopened their doors on June 29, greeting guests with a set of safety protocols for visitors and staff alike.
Using directives issued by Governor Asa Hutchinson, the Arkansas Department of Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the welcome centers are committed to offering a healthy environment for visitors and staff. Masks are required to enter all center lobbies and visitor capacity is limited. Hand sanitizer stations are available in all lobbies and social distancing is achieved using floor markings. Restrooms, commonly touched surfaces and outdoor spaces are cleaned frequently.
Arkansas Welcome Center staff are screened each morning to verify they do not have a fever. Glass shields are in place at counters and brochure areas are marked off from the public, allowing staff to retrieve visitor information in a safe manner. Signage regarding safety protocols is posted and common areas such as pavilions and tables are closed to public gatherings of more than 10 people in accordance with distancing procedures. Procedures will be evaluated frequently, adjusting protocols as necessary to ensure a safe atmosphere.
To learn more about Arkansas’s commitment to keeping visitors safe, go to arkansas.com/arkansas-ready-travel.
About Arkansas Tourism
Arkansas Tourism, a division of the Arkansas Department of Parks, Heritage and Tourism, strives to expand the economic impact of travel and tourism in the state and enhance the quality of life for all Arkansans. The division manages 14 Arkansas Welcome Centers and employs more than 60 staff members across The Natural State. For more information, visit www.arkansas.com.