Judge declares state of emergency, limits access at courthouse

Staff Writer

Hot Spring County Judge Dennis Thornton has declared a state of emergency in Hot Spring County.

Although there has not been any reported cases of coronavirus, COVID-19, in the county, Thornton said the declaration is needed for first responders to receive personal protective equipment.
Local first responders have been unable to find personal protective equipment such as gloves and face masks to use while responding to incidents, he said.
With Thornton’s declaration, these first responders can receive these items through the Arkansas Department of Emergency Management.
He feels that it is extremely important to keep first responders healthy, so they can continue to serve residents across the county.

To combat the spread of the virus, Thornton is also restricting access to the Hot Spring County Courthouse. Restrictions will be in place through Friday and then will reassess.
Elected officials will still be working at the courthouse, but Thornton is encouraging residents to do most business online.

“We need to be proactive,” Thornton said. These restrictions are based on guidelines from President Donald Trump and Gov. Asa Hutchinson, he added.

If special provisions are needed, such as receiving a marriage license, Thornton encourages individuals to contact elected officials via phone or email.
At the courthouse, there will be signs posted with phone numbers for how residents can contact various elected officials. Individuals can also call the courthouse at 501-332-2263.

According to the Arkansas Department of Health, there are 37 confirmed cases of COVID-19 across the state. Cases have been reported in Washington, Garland, Saline, Pulaski, Faulkner, Cleburne, Jefferson, Cleveland, Bradley, Lincoln and Desha counties.