Restrictions for bars and restaurants across Arkansas begin tonight

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — Restaurants and bars across Arkansas will have a new closing time beginning tonight.

Due to a new health directive, businesses that serve alcohol in the state must close at 11 p.m.

RELATED: Coronavirus: CDC warns against traveling for Thanksgiving amid COVID-19 pandemic

Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson said the new restrictions are an attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

The directive is set to end Jan. 3.

The directive applies to businesses that are licensed to sell and serve alcohol on their premises, according to a release from the Arkansas Health Department.

RELATED: Area hospitals may see an influx in patients to help rural counties

Hutchinson said the measure is a “balanced approach” that is targeted, according to the release.

Any person violating the directive could be found guilty of a misdemeanor.

According to the release, punishment could include a fine up to $500, jail time or both.