Governor Kim Reynolds is lifting the size restrictions on indoor and outdoor gatherings she established in November amid a dramatic escalation in Covid case counts in Iowa.
The governor’s public health emergency proclamation limited community and social gatherings indoors to no more than 15 people. Outdoor gatherings have been limited to 30. The governor is lifting those restrictions at 12:01 a.m. tomorrow.
“This holiday season I encourage you to celebrate, but celebrate responsibly,” she said today. “We saw the benefit that adjusting our traditions over Thanksgiving had.”
The governor’s requirement that masks be worn inside public places when social distancing is not possible remains in effect. Reynolds said during a news conference late this morning that Covid trends in Iowa are trending in the right direction. For example, half as many Covid patients are in Iowa hospitals today as compared to mid-November.
“We’ve seen the positive effects that gathering in small groups can have,” she said, “so please keep that in mind throughout the holiday season.”
As of tomorrow Reynolds is lifting the requirement that bars and restaurants stop serving alcohol at 10 p.m.
“Bars and restaurants can resume their normal hours of operations, but patrons must still be seated when eating or drinking, limited to eight per group or household, distanced six feet from other groups,” she said, “and masks are required when individuals are not seated.”
The governor’s also allowing slightly more people be in the crowds for youth and high school sporting events and extracurricular activities in Iowa schools, like band and choral concerts.
“Spectators at high school, youth or adult sporting, recreation or extracurricular events will be slightly expanded to include the member of the participant’s household,” Reynolds said. “Gathering limitations will be lifted, but six feet of distance between groups or individuals is required.”
The governor’s public health emergency proclamation has not limited crowds at collegiate sporting events. An updated copy of the proclamation is posted here..
(This post was updated at 3:55 p.m. with additional information.)