Governor Reynolds.

Governor Kim Reynolds says COVID-19 trends in Iowa are on the downward slope and she will be lifting the 50 percent capacity limits she ordered Iowa businesses to follow last month amid the pandemic.

“Eliminating the capacity restrictions will allow businesses the flexibility to adjust their specific operations accordingly to best meet the needs of their employees and customers,” Reynolds announced late this morning during a statehouse news conference.

Starting Friday at 8 a.m., Iowa businesses may open at full capacity, although Reynolds is asking certain businesses like restaurants, bars and movie theaters to ensure customers and employees maintain the recommended six-feet of social distancing to reduce the risk of spreading COVID-19. Reynolds said the hospitalization rate has declined month to month, from a high of 417 to 245 patients in the hospital today for treatment of the virus.

“These changes are the result of the positive forward momentum that we’re generating in Iowa and we must keep it going,” Reynolds said. “We know that COVID-19 will remain in our communities for a while, but we also know what we can do to effectively mitigate and manage and contain it while we safely and responsibly move forward with life.”

Reynolds previously allowed swimming pools to reopen just for swimming laps, but starting Friday pools may be open to all swimmers. Senior centers and adult day care programs may also reopen Friday, but the governor cautioned they must follow Department of Public Health guidelines for operating during the pandemic.