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What is and isn't reopening in Iowa on Friday

Movie theaters, zoos and pools are among places that can reopen with certain restrictions.

IOWA, USA — Additional businesses across Iowa are allowed to reopen Friday following Gov. Kim Reynolds most recent COVID-19 public health proclamation

Local 5 is compiling all the information about what is and isn't open heading into the Memorial Day weekend.

While places like movie theaters and zoos can reopen with certain restrictions, bars and other establishments that serve alcohol won't be able to reopen until Thursday, May 28.

Text FACTS to 515-457-1026 for the latest coronavirus coverage or TRACK to access data on statewide coronavirus testing, cases and deaths.

You can also view the latest Iowa Department of Public Health data here.

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.

RELATED: Bank Park Zoo reopening Friday to members, Sunday to general public

The Science Center of Iowa has released the following, phased approach to reopening:

Phase I: Opening the SCI Preschool

Starting on Tuesday, May 26, the SCI Preschool will resume limited operations. Four classrooms, with a limited number of students, will operate with enhanced safety and cleaning procedures. 

Phase II: Serving students through Summer Camps

In a typical summer, SCI provides more than 2,000 camp experiences on a variety of topics ranging from chemistry to rocketry and invention to dissection. This year, SCI Summer Camps will operate virtually for the first two weeks (June 8-12 and June 15-19) and move to onsite operations starting June 22. To limit camp sizes, capacities have been reduced and remaining spaces are limited.

Phase III: Welcoming back SCI members

SCI will host a members-only preview weekend on Saturday, June 27, and Sunday, June 28. This preview will introduce a modified SCI experience designed to limit crowds and reduce the spread of germs. 

Phase IV: Opening to the public

Beginning July 4, SCI will be open on Saturdays and Sundays for attendance by members and the general public. This modified SCI experience is designed to limit crowds and reduce the spread of germs. Visitors will be required to pre-purchase timed tickets online, and access to "high-touch" exhibits and experiences will be restricted. More details will be announced in the coming weeks.

In addition, beginning on June 29, SCI will begin opening for school and group visits during the week.

Phase V: The "New Normal"

As the summer progresses, SCI leaders will assess how the virus has impacted the community and how audiences are responding to modified experience. Toward the end of summer, the organization hopes to be able to open in a broader capacity. 

Swimming pools and 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.

Various cities have already decided to keep their pools closed for parts or all of the summer. 

READ: Gov. Kim Reynolds' full public health proclamation (May 20, 2020)

Wedding receptions

The proclamation allows wedding receptions to be held starting 5:00 a.m. Friday until 11:59 p.m. on Wednesday, May 27. The venue must comply with all requirements of a restaurant such as:

  • Operating at 50% capacity
  • Seating parties together of no more than six
  • Social distancing 
  • Prohibiting self-service of food or beverages


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."

RELATED: Wedding venue cautious as Iowa begins to reopen


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