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Arkansas music festival cited for virus safety violations

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Arkansas music festival cited for virus safety violations

(KNOE) LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) —

An Arkansas music festival that attracted thousands of people over the weekend was cited by the state for violating coronavirus safety rules after attendees were seen not wearing masks or following social distancing requirements.

Arkansas Alcohol Beverage Control cited organizers of the Peacemaker Music Festival, which was held Friday and Saturday night at an outdoor amphitheater in Fort Smith.

More than 2,500 people attended the festival, the Times Record newspaper in Fort Smith reported. State Health officials in June approved organizers’ plan for the event, which included checking temperature of patrons at the gate and requiring masks to be worn. A statewide order requiring masks in most public settings took effect last week.

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"The festival staff did work closely with ABC to address concerns as they were raised," Scott Hardin, a spokesman for the agency, said in an email. "However, there were ultimately not enough staffers or volunteers to address each individual concern."

Hardin said the penalty against the festival will be determined by ABC’s director and will likely be a fine since it was a one-time event. He said the violation could be considered if organizers apply for another alcohol permit next year.

The festival’s organizers said they were thankful most patrons of the event adhered to the safety guidelines approved by the state."Our volunteer staff worked tirelessly to enforce the rules," a statement released by the festival said. "Despite that, there were some patrons who violated the directive."Gov. Asa Hutchinson said he thought the event had a good plan in place but said "the ball was dropped" in its execution. He said the state needs to ensure […]

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