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'When you look at the shelter-in-place orders in other places, it kind of looks like what we're doing now', police say

Gathering in groups of 10 or more people during the coronavirus pandemic could get you arrested or cited.

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds stood by her decision Friday to not issue Iowans to stay home.

Thursday, Dr. Anthony Fauci, who plays a big role in the White House Coronavirus Task Force, said he doesn’t understand why all states aren't issuing stay-at-home orders.

Friday, Reynolds was asked about this at her daily COVID-19 briefing.

"Maybe he doesn't have all of the information," Reynolds said. "You can't just look at a map and assume that no action has been taken."

Reynolds pointed to the closure orders she’s put in place over the last month, which includes closing schools, closing many non-essential businesses, prohibiting gatherings of 10 or more people and suspending non-essential medical and dental procedures.

"The term shelter-in-place does not mean that any state's orders are different from, or stronger than what we are doing in Iowa," Reynolds said. "What matters is the substance in the order, not its name."

If you violate Reynolds' orders, it is considered a simple misdemeanor.

"The potential for arrest or citation is there, but we've already given our officers the order that we're going to use judicious discretion when it comes to who we actually take into custody and put in the jail so that we can do our part to prevent that spread on that end,” Des Moines Police Sgt. Paul Parizek said. “If we do come across a misdemeanor violation, and the circumstances are appropriate, we'd write you a ticket and send you on your way."

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Parizek said the Des Moines Police Department said they haven't gotten many complaints in.

"I think when I looked yesterday, we had had about five calls," Parizek said.

So far, Parizek said officers haven't found anyone to be intentionally breaking the orders, so they haven't written any tickets yet.

If the governor does eventually issue a full shelter-in-place order, Parizek said police may get stricter with enforcement.

"When you look at the shelter-in-place orders in other places, it kind of looks like what we're doing now," Parizek said. "We wouldn't expect to see a drastic change and how our community is responding to that, should they get to the point where they think that it's necessary to do a shelter-in-place order, we might become a little more clear on our lines of tolerance and how long we're going to tolerate people moving around and whether or not we would stray away from warnings and go right to enforcement action."

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Friday morning, the Iowa Board of Medicine held an emergency teleconference where they unanimously voted to send the governor a letter asking her to issue a shelter in place order due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their goal in doing this is to protect the public, health care providers on the front lines and maintain an adequate stock of PPE.

Reynolds estimated 80-81% of Iowa's workforce would be classified as essential.