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Restaurants, bars close across central Iowa following coronavirus public health emergency

A State of Public Health Disaster Emergency was issued Tuesday morning.

DES MOINES, Iowa — All bars and restaurants in Iowa closed suddenly at noon Tuesday following an emergency health proclamation from Gov. Reynolds due to the spread of COVID-19 in the state.

Carry-out, delivery and drive-thru services will still be available, but no in-person dining will be allowed through March 31 as part of a State of Public Health Disaster Emergency proclamation signed by the governor.

"These are unprecedented times and the state of Iowa will do whatever is necessary to address this public health disaster," Reynolds said. "I have authorized all available state resources, supplies, equipment and materials to combat the spread of COVID-19. The actions taken today are necessary to protect the health and safety of all Iowans and are critical to mitigating the spread of the virus.”

In addition to bars and restaurants having to close, the governor has also ordered the closures of:

  • Movie Theaters
  • Casinos
  • Fitness Centers
  • Health Clubs
  • Health Spas
  • Gyms
  • Aquatic Centers
  • Senior Citizen Centers
  • Adult Day Service Centers

"It wasn't a shock," said Donnell Vaughn, a manager at Java Joe's in downtown Des Moines. "It was just a matter of when ... just bracing ourselves for it."

As of Tuesday evening, 23 Iowans had tested positive for COVID-19.

In both downtown Des Moines and the popular West Glen area of West Des Moines, it was hard to find anyone out and about on the afternoon of St. Patrick's Day.

And the immediate change in business operations for many restaurant workers has left them anxious and nervous, wondering if they'll still have jobs once the coronavirus outbreak is stemmed.

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Iowa Workforce Development announced that those who unemployment claimants can expect payment within 7 to 10 days after the date their claim is submitted.

Social, community, spiritual, religious, recreational, leisure and sports gatherings and events of more by 10 people are also prohibited at all locations and venues, according to the governor's proclamation.

This includes, but is not limited to parades, festivals, conventions and fundraisers. The proclamation stated that planned large gatherings and events must be canceled or postponed until after termination of this disaster. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a few steps to protect yourself from the spread of the coronavirus: Clean your hands often, avoid close contact, stay home if you're sick and cover your coughs/sneezes.

Read the full State of Public Health Disaster Emergency from Gov. Kim Reynolds

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