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Arkansas Welcome Center near Harrison back open with guidelines in place

Published: Jul. 8, 2020 at 4:07 PM CDT
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HARRISON, Ark. (KY3) - A pit stop on his way north led Michael Hizer to a little surprise Wednesday north of Harrison.

”We just happened to run across it. Didn’t expect there would even be a visitor center here,” Hizer said.

He lives in Conway but never drove up the stretch of Highway 65 before.

”Being a relatively new resident, it’s nice to kind of learn about some of the different things to do in this area,” Hizer said.

For about three months, people passing by the Arkansas Welcome Center near Harrison couldn’t learn about things to do, either. Arkansas closed its centers due to the coronavirus. They opened back up June 24.

“Provide them with a service. A place to stop, use the restroom, and they can get brochures about the area attractions,” said Jeff Wheeler, a district engineer with the Arkansas Department of Transportation.

But the centers offered all that before. New, since reopening, are some changes to keep COVID-19 at bay.

”We do have the six-foot distancing. We do have the mask requirement,” said Leesha Miller, who manages the Arkansas Welcome Center in Harrison.

The center also has panels to separate employees and visitors. Brochure shelves are blocked off for now.

”Because the paper might be touched quite a bit, it would be very difficult to keep it uncontaminated, so to speak,” Miller said.

If someone needs to know the guidelines to follow at a local business, the center staff will personally call or give people the number to that location to get the answer, which provides a safer way for visitors to enjoy their trip.

”We’re always happy to promote the state of Arkansas,” Miller said.

Around this time last year, more than 55,000 visitors had stopped by the center. This year they’re closer to 19,000.

The lobby of the building is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, and restrooms stay open 24/7.

Copyright 2020 KY3. All rights reserved.

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