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Clinton Center Suspends Operations Amid Rising COVID-19 Cases

Clinton Presidential Library
Cameron Huddleston

After roughly a month of being open for visitors, the Clinton Presidential Center in downtown Little Rock is again temporarily suspending operations. This comes as the number of COVID-19 cases continues to skyrocket in Arkansas due to the delta variant and the state’s low vaccination rate.

The center announced last Friday it would close its indoor exhibits beginning Monday. Clinton Center spokesperson Rebecca Tennille says it was a tough, yet necessary, decision.

“It was positivity rates, it was cases per capita, it was total number of cases, and there was a formula and as soon as we exceeded those numbers we made the decision, along with NARA, that it was time to suspend operations,” Tennille said.

Tennille says museum leadership made the decision late last week along with guidance from the National Archives and Records Administration. The Clinton Museum Store will also be closed beginning Monday.

Tennille says the center’s restaurant, 42 Bar and Table, will remain open but require patrons to show proof of vaccination before entering the restaurant.

“The decision was made to require proof of vaccination for the restaurant simply to protect staff and our patrons and our volunteers. Again, that was a tough call, but we truly believe it’s the right thing to do.”

Tennille says it’s still too early to say whether or not the museum will require visitors to show proof of vaccination to view indoor exhibits. While the center’s indoor exhibits will be closed to the public, its outdoor exhibition will remain on display for visitors.

The Clinton Presidential Center closed in mid-March of 2020 when Arkansas saw its first cases of COVID-19. During the pandemic, the center served as a hub for World Central Kitchen and various local restaurants distributing free meals to students and others. The museum reopened on July 1. 

Daniel Breen is a Little Rock-based reporter, anchor and producer for KUAR.
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