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Gov. Reynolds loosens restrictions on movie theaters, zoos and more starting Friday

The announcement also includes high school sports and swimming pools. Bars will be able to reopen on May 28 as well.

IOWA, USA — More businesses across Iowa can reopen their doors this Friday, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Wednesday. 

Movie theaters, pools and wedding venues are among the businesses to reopen.

Reynolds also announced that bars and other establishments that serve alcohol will be able to reopen next Thursday, May 28.

Each business will have specific guidelines to follow to keep their employees and patrons safe as the pandemic continues. Here's the guidelines for each business:

Movie theaters

Movie theaters will be able to reopen as long as the establishment can do the following:

  • Limit capacity to 50%
  • Keep groups and individuals six feet apart within the theater
  • Prohibit any self-service of food or drinks
  • Implement "reasonable measures" of social distancing of employees and customers, increased hygiene practices and other public health measures to limit the spread of the virus

Museums, aquariums and zoos

The proclamation says these businesses can reopen but "only to the extent that the establishment takes reasonable measures under the circumstances of each establishment." 

In short, museums, aquariums and zoos can reopen as long as they keep employees and patrons at least six feet apart, increase their hygiene practices and continue to follow other public health measures to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Swimming pools/pool registration fees

Pools will only be able to reopen for lap swimming and swimming lessons, according to the proclamation. 

That can only happen if the establishment can take reasonable measures to ensure social distancing of employees and customers, increase hygiene practices and continue to follow other public health measures to reduce the risk of spreading the virus.

Reynolds also suspended the required $25 fee for each month that the registration for a swimming pool or spa is not received by the Iowa Department of Public Health by April 30 or the first business day thereafter if the pool is closed during the month. 

Refunds will be issued to any owner that has already paid the penalty for the rule for the registration period that started on May 1.

High school summer activities and events

Schools will also be able to resume school sponsored activities and learning starting June 1, including high school baseball and softball. Iowa Department of Education Director Dr. Ann Lebo will join Reynolds at Thursday's press conference to explain more.

The proclamation says any school sponsored activity can be done as long as it follows the guidelines of the Iowa DOE, Iowa High School Athletic Association and the Iowa Girls High School Athletic Union.

RELATED: IHSAA, IGHSAU approve start of high school baseball and softball starting June 1

Iowa Youth Survey

Reynolds' proclamation suspends the requirement of Iowa's youth to be surveyed. Every two years, students in grades six, eight and eleven in Iowa's public and non-public schools are surveyed. The survey will be skipped this year and will resume next year.

Wedding receptions

The proclamation is allowing receptions to be held starting 5:00 a.m. this Friday until 11:59 p.m. on May 27. The venue must comply with all requirements of a restaurant, i.e. social distancing measures in place.


The proclamation also allows indoor auctions to take place as long as there are 25 or less people in attendance. Social distancing measures must also be in place.

Auctions with more than 25 people can happen outside with social distancing measures in place. The proclamation says "all other auctions continue to be prohibited until 11:59 p.m. on May 27, 2020, at all locations and venues."

Temporary teacher licensure

This paragraph of the proclamation allows applicants for a one-year temporary license to not provide proof of a teaching job offer. 

That means the Board of Educational Examiners can issue a one-year temporary license to new teachers unable to complete the requirements for initial licensure.


While camping isn't in the proclamation, changes will also be made at campsites across the state.

Reynolds brought Kayla Lyon, the Director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources, to discuss changes being made at state parks.

Lyon said starting Friday, all modern restroom and shower buildings, plus cabins, will reopen for Memorial Day Weekend.

The Iowa DNR sent out this list of guidelines for campers to be aware of:

  • In campgrounds, only campers with overnight reservations will be allowed; no visitors.
  • Only six overnight occupants per campsite will be allowed, unless immediate family contains more than six.
  • Communal picnic tables and grills are open for use at your own risk.
  • Beaches remain open, but will be monitored closely. 
  • For cabin rentals, all kitchenware such as dishes, pots and pans, has been removed; renters will need to bring their own from home. Additionally, the check-in time has been moved to 5:00 p.m. and check-out time to 9:00 a.m. (from 4:00 p.m. and 11:00 a.m. respectively) to allow for more cleaning time between rentals.
  • Some areas of parks and campgrounds may be closed due to construction or maintenance issues, so please check the specific closure information for each park before planning a camping trip.  

RELATED: Iowa coronavirus cases, testing and deaths: By the numbers

As of 10:00 a.m. Wednesday, 110,211 Iowans have been tested for COVID-19 with 94,678 coming back negative. 15,533 Iowans have tested positive and 380 have died.

8,211 have recovered from the coronavirus.

RELATED: Live COVID-19 updates: 17 more inmates test positive at Polk County Jail

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WATCH: Complete coronavirus coverage from Local 5 on YouTube