ABC News Corona Virus Government. Response

Arkansas health department to shut down Travis McCready concert, governor says

The Friday concert was scheduled for three days before indoor venues could open.

Arkansas officials plan to shut down a socially-distanced Travis McCready concert planned for Friday.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Tuesday that the state's health department will be issuing a cease-and-desist order for the concert at TempleLive in Fort Smith, due to the timing of the state's coronavirus lockdown measures.

Indoor venues in Arkansas, including arenas and theaters, can reopen on May 18 as long as they limit their audience to fewer than 50 people and follow social distancing measures.

The McCready concert had been scheduled to take place three days before that date, with the venue capacity reduced from 1,100 to 229 people.

Hutchinson said during a coronavirus briefing Tuesday that there were several issues with the concert, foremost being that it is before the determined date to open indoor venues. The concert hall also did not have a plan approved by the state's health department, he said.

"It's out of time," Hutchinson said. "Can you imagine what reaction we would have had across Arkansas if we set the date for May 11 to open up restaurants but a bunch of them just decided to do that on May 5? You can't just arbitrarily determine when the restrictions are lifted. That is something that is done based upon a public health requirement.”

Hutchinson added that the health department will be issuing a cease-and-desist order "directing that that concert not take place."

Per the concert's Ticketmaster page, TempleLive had planned to sanitize the venue using fog sprayers. It was also going to require masks of all attendees and employees, do temperature checks of attendees at entry points, separate all seating groups or "fan pods" by six feet, and limit 10 people to the restrooms, among other measures.

As of Tuesday evening, TempleLive was still selling tickets to the concert on Ticketmaster.

Concert promoter Mike Brown told ABC News Tuesday night that there was no decision yet on what the next steps are regarding the concert.

ABC News' Matt Claiborne contributed to this report.

What to know about the coronavirus:

  • How it started and how to protect yourself: Coronavirus explained
  • What to do if you have symptoms: Coronavirus symptoms
  • Tracking the spread in the U.S. and worldwide: Coronavirus map
  • Tune into ABC at 1 p.m. ET and ABC News Live at 4 p.m. ET every weekday for special coverage of the novel coronavirus with the full ABC News team, including the latest news, context and analysis.