For Immediate Release
September 3, 2020
City Administration Contact:
Fayetteville Police Department:
Sergeant Tony Murphy
Public Information Officer
City Leadership Announces Increased Presence in Entertainment District
FAYETTEVILLE, ARK – Today, City of Fayetteville Mayor Lioneld Jordan and Fayetteville Police Chief Mike Reynolds announced plans for an increased presence of police officers and Fire Marshals in the downtown entertainment district beginning today and extending into the Labor Day holiday weekend. These Public Safety Officers (PSOs) will have the sole purpose of educating and enforcing the directives related to COVID-19.
This announcement comes in response to growing concerns about the potential for COVID-19 community spread resulting from restaurant and bar patrons gathering in groups both indoors and outdoors. The City received several complaints from residents that many of these patrons are not wearing face coverings nor maintaining appropriate distance from others.
According to Mayor Jordan, “We want to raise COVID-19 prevention awareness and compliance with everyone who visits our downtown and Dickson areas, but our efforts this holiday weekend are specifically designed to reach University of Arkansas students. Whether you live here full-time, part-time or are just visiting—each of us has a responsibility to help keep this community healthy by following simple guidelines to prevent COVID-19 spread.”
Chief Reynolds added, “Our student population includes people from many different cities, states and countries who may not be fully aware of our state and local directives. We hope this increased presence of PSOs and their engagement in the entertainment district will help students better understand and follow COVID-19 directives as well as their own student code of conduct.”
Four police officers are currently assigned to the Dickson Street and Downtown Square areas Wednesday through Saturday evenings and late-night hours. This weekend these regularly scheduled police officers will be joined by two additional officers and personnel from the Fayetteville Fire Marshal’s office. Together they will focus on increasing awareness and education of COVID-19 prevention behaviors and directives for patrons of all downtown area bars and restaurants. These PSOs will work with businesses to help them understand regulations and gain compliance with patrons, particularly those who are not wearing masks and not practicing social distancing while waiting in lines outside.
“Mayor Jordan and I hope our PSOs can help all our bar and restaurant patrons become more aware of the direct impact their behavior has on COVID-19 community spread in Fayetteville,” said Chief Reynolds. “We also believe this is an opportunity to provide additional support to local businesses who are working to follow health and safety guidelines but may be struggling to gain compliance from their patrons.”
Please check the City’s www.fayetteville-ar.gov/covid19 webpage to keep up to date on information for Fayetteville residents and businesses, including links to state- and city-level COVID-19 numbers, Arkansas Department of Health directives and helpful resources during the pandemic.