LITTLE ROCK (AP) — Arkansas is requiring bars, restaurants and clubs that serve alcohol to close by 11 p.m. in an effort to curb a surge in coronavirus cases and hospitalizations, Gov. Asa Hutchinson said Thursday.

The early closing time will begin today and remain in effect through Jan. 3, Hutchinson said.

The Republican governor said the move was recommended by a task force he formed to address the growth in virus cases this winter.

“This is a balanced approach that is limited and targeted as we work to reduce new COVID cases in our state,” Hutchinson said in a statement released by his office.

Hutchinson has resisted imposing new restrictions on businesses. Earlier this week, he rejected a White House panel’s recommendation that indoor restaurant dining capacities be scaled back significantly in most of the state.

Nearly 300 doctors on Wednesday urged the governor to impose other restrictions, including closing bars and gyms.

On Thursday the Arkansas Department of Health reported 2,238 new cases in the state, and a total of 16,998 active cases.

There were 899 people hospitalized Thursday, which was down 2 from Wednesday, and 146 patients were on ventilators, which was up 3 from Wednesday.

There were 22 more COVID-19 deaths reported Thursday, bringing the total to 2,297. The state has seen a total of 139,855 COVID-19 cases.

The Health Department reported that the top counties for new cases are Pulaski, 207; Washington, 131; Sebastian, 122; Benton, 110; and Craighead, 102.

“I will be addressing the high number of new cases in a Friday news conference,” Hutchinson said. “Today we implemented the first recommendation of the COVID-19 Winter Task Force, and I will address hospital capacity tomorrow.”

COVID-19 numbers in the River Valley, as of Thursday afternoon, were:

Conway County: 554 total cases, 144 active cases, 404 recovered, 6 deaths.

Johnson County: 1,180 total cases, 79 active cases, 1,090 recovered, 11 deaths.

Logan County: 816 total cases, 157 active cases, 653 recovered, 6 deaths.

Newton County: 394 total cases, 40 active cases, 332 recovered, 22 deaths.

Perry County: 217 total cases, 38 active cases, 176 recovered, 3 deaths.

Pope County: 3,374 total cases, 372 active cases, 2,962 recovered, 40 deaths.

Searcy County: 265 total cases, 36 active cases, 228 recovered, 1 death.

Van Buren County: 296 total cases, 47 active cases, 246 recovered, 3 deaths.

Yell County: 1,545 total cases, 129 active cases, 1,383 recovered, 33 deaths.