Hair salons and barber shops statewide may reopen on Friday. Governor Kim Reynolds announced a series of decisions today that will allow more businesses to reopen.
“We can and must reopen our economy,” Reynolds said during a late morning news conference “We can restart in a stable, safe and responsible way and we can slow the spread, protect the health of Iowans and their livelihood and protect the health care system in the long run.”
Reynolds has issued a new proclamation that extends the business reopenings she allowed in 77 counties on May 1st to Iowa’s other 22 counties. It means all Iowa restaurants may reopen dining areas, but at half capacity and with other COVID-19 restrictions. Fitness centers and gyms in the 22 counties that had been limited to one-at-a-time, appointment only use are now allowed to have more customers inside.
“There’s no universal approach that works perfectly for every state,” Reynolds said. “In fact, a one-size approach is not the best way to tackle unique circumstances.”
Reynolds said temporarily closing pieces of the state’s economy had a significant impact, but it gave state officials time to validate that Iowa hospitals will be able to handle future increases in COVID-19 cases.
“We’ve moved to the recovery phase,” she said, “gradually shifting our focus from mitigation to containing and managing virus activity.”
Polk and Woodbury Counties have recently seen a spike in general COVID-19 case counts and in the number of Iowans hospitalized for treatment of the virus. Reynolds said those trends mimic what happened in eastern Iowa at the beginning of the pandemic. And the governor said increased testing and ample space in hospital I-C-Us indicate western Iowa is well prepared.
“These positive signs give me confidence that we’re on the right path and we’re to take additional steps forward,” Reynolds said.
Bars, casinos, movie theaters and museums are to remain closed. Swimming pools as well as playgrounds, whether inside or outdoors, are to stay closed, too, according to the governor’s orders. The updated proclamation that maintains those closures has an end time of May 27th at midnight. Social, community and sports gatherings of 10 or more are also prohibited through the last Wednesday of the month. That seems to indicate indoor and outdoor gatherings for graduation ceremonies would be prohibited, although the governor has not directly addressed the issue.
Reynolds has not discussed whether high school sports may resume this summer, but she’s not closed the door on the idea if virus activity declines.
“Hopefully, if Iowans and businesses and everybody continue to do what we’re seeing that they do, we’re going to continue, in a very phased in approach, continue opening up and bringing more things online,” Reynolds said.
Republican leaders announced this afternoon they plan to reconvene the 2020 legislative session on June 3. The legislature took a series of emergency votes in mid-March and suspended the session.
The Iowa Department of Public Health’s website shows another 17 Iowans have died of COVID-19. A total of 306 Iowans have died of the virus since March. More than 13,000 Iowans have tested positive for the virus over the past nine weeks. That includes another 377 cases announced today.
Here’s the full proclamation: Public Health Proclamation – 2020.05.13