Governor Kim Reynolds is moving up the re-opening of more businesses prior to the holiday weekend.
“Today I am announcing that effective on Friday, movie theaters, zoos, aquariums, museums and wedding reception venues will be permitted to re-open with appropriate public health measures in place,” Reynolds says.
Swimming pools will be able to open for laps and lessons, while the DNR is opening all modern restrooms and showers at the state’s parks. The governor’s previous coronavirus emergency order would have kept those businesses closed through the end of the month. The governor says bars and other establishments that sell alcohol will be able to open next Thursday at 50% capacity.
Summer sports are also allowed to get back to action.”Effective June first, Iowa schools will be permitted to resume school-sponsored activities and learning. According to the appropriate public health precautions — this will include high school baseball and softball activities,” Reynolds says. The governor promises more details on school activities tomorrow — as she’s joined by the director of the state department of education.
Reynolds says parents and athletes have been anxious to get playing again. “High school athletics was the logical place to start the process of bringing athletics back in season. We are working closely with the Iowa High School Athletic Association and others to make this possible,” she says.
She says they are also looking to get other sports back too. “Together with the Department of Public Health, we are also working with youth sports associations to develop a plan to bring other sports opportunities back for the summer, and more will be coming on that next week,” Reynolds says.
The governor made the announcement at her daily coronavirus update. She was asked by a reporter what she is seeing that indicates reopening the businesses will not put people at risk. “Because we are seeing a stabilization, we are not overwhelming our health care systems. We’ve demonstrated that we have the resources to manage any type of an uptick or surge,” according to Reynolds. “…And we are seeing great trends — we are seeing our positivity rate go down — it was 14.1% today. Yesterday’s average was 7.4% — we have 53% of Iowans who have recovered.”
Reynolds says we have to recognize the fact that the virus is in our communities and we have to move forward to navigate that until or if a vaccine is developed. “It doesn’t have to be either or — we can protect the health of Iowans as well as their livelihood and the health of our economy,” Reynolds says. “And there are so many other factors that we have to balance also. Whether that’s food insecurity, domestic and child abuse, we don’t have eyes on kids because they are not in school The additional uptick of suicides and mental well being.”
The Iowa Department of Public Health reported 237 new cases of COVID-19 today for a total of now of 15,533. Those cases include 14 more deaths — pushing the statewide death total to 381. These numbers are part of the new 24-hour reporting period that ended today at 10 a.m.
The report says 381 Iowans were hospitalized, and than eight-thousand have recovered from COVID-19.
Here is the updated emergency proclamation: Public Health Proclamation – 2020.05.20 PDF
(Radio Iowa’s Matt Kelley also contributed to this story.)