Iowa continues to ease back into normalcy as Gov. Kim Reynolds allows more and more businesses to reopen their doors.
At her Tuesday morning press conference, Reynolds announced she will be extending the Public Health Disaster Emergency proclamation through June 25.
This proclamation also allows more Iowa businesses to partially reopen their doors to customers.
"For some families, recovery means an opportunity to go back to work and to have the dignity of earning a paycheck again, get kids back into a normal routine, or simply reconnect with family members and friends," Reynolds said.
She continued, "For our state, recovery means striking a balance between getting life and business back to normal while continuing to manage the virus activity, our recovery is contingent upon our ability to protect both the lives and livelihoods of Iowans."
What's reopening first?
With that being said, Reynolds announced that the following businesses will be able to reopen Thursday, May 28:
- Social/fraternal clubs
These businesses must follow the same public health measures as restaurants, including limiting normal operating capacity to 50%, enforcing social distancing guidelines and limiting group sizes to 10 people or less.
Self-service areas, like buffets or salad bars, are still prohibited under this proclamation.
Live bands or musicians can perform at bars and restaurants, but they must also follow social distancing protocols with their group and audience members.
Effective Monday, June 1, the following will also be able to reopen:
- Speedways, racetracks
- Outdoor performance venues
- Casinos, gaming facilities
- Amusements, i.e. parks, bowling alleys, arcades
- Skating rinks, skate parks
- Outdoor playgrounds
All of these facilities, excluding outdoor playgrounds, will need to enforce social distancing guidelines as well as follow capacity restrictions. The proclamation does not give specific guidelines on outdoor playgrounds.
The guidelines within the latest proclamation are set to expire on June 17.
What else is in the proclamation?
The proclamation continues the prohibition of any mass gathering of more than 10 people through June 17. That includes social, community, recreational, leisure and sporting gatherings.
Spiritual gatherings aren't prohibited, but the host of a gathering should implement reasonable social distancing measures to reduce the risk of transmission.
Reynolds also announced she'll be allocating funding from the CARES Act to help Iowans that are having difficulty paying their rent or mortgage. This relief program will be administered by the Iowa Finance Authority.
The program applies to residential evictions and foreclosures and will be available to Iowans "who have experienced a documented loss of income due to COVID-19 and are unable to pay their rent or mortgage payment."
Eligibility information will be available "soon," Reynolds said.
Reynolds added, "This is a reminder that you should be making your payments as usual, the moratorium was not a freeze on payments, but rather a necessary public health protection to ensure that I once we're able to stay in their homes at the height of the emergency."
Read the full proclamation below:
High-risk Iowans need to continue social distancing
Reynolds as well as Sarah Reisetter with the Iowa Department of Public Health continue to urge high-risk folks to keep themselves safe by social distancing.
Iowans that are 65 and older or have underlying health conditions should stay home as much as possible, but Reisetter said all Iowans need to be responsible.
"All Iowans should continue to practice good social distancing when out and about, wear masks or other cloth face coverings when social distancing is not possible," Reisetter said.
If you're feeling sick, stay home. You're urged to continue proper hygiene, like covering your coughs and sneezes and washing or sanitizing your hands.
"As Gov. Reynolds has said, we are all continuing to adjust to what life with COVID-19 will be like as we continue to move through this pandemic. We know this is a difficult time and Iowans need to be, continue to be responsible and taking care of their own health as well as protecting the health of our communities," Reisetter said.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends frequent hand washing, avoiding close contact and staying home if you are sick as main areas of focus for prevention and containment of COVID-19.
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