Most of Iowa is beginning to open back up, and here’s what you need to know

This past Monday, Gov. Reynolds issued a new proclamation, which loosens up restrictions in 77 counties. Calhoun County is one of those 77 counties. [File photo]
Tyler Anderson
The Graphic-Advocate Editor

On April 27, Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds signed a new proclamation to extend the State Public Health Emergency Declaration until May 27.

The proclamation also loosened up on social distancing measures, which go into effect at 5 a.m. on Friday, May 1. However, the proclamation continues other restrictions until 11:50 p.m. on Friday, May 15.

All counties – save for Allamakee, Benton, Black Hawk, Bremer, Dallas, Des Moines, Dubuque, Fayette, Henry, Iowa, Jasper, Johnson, Linn, Louisa, Marshall, Muscatine, Polk, Poweshiek, Scott, Tama, Washington and Woodbury counties – are given the green light on reopening certain businesses.

All of the establishments allowed to reopen must also practice reasonable measures of social distancing between employees and customers, alongside increased hygiene practices and other public health measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission.

Here’s the rundown of what can reopen on Friday.

Restaurants: According to the proclamation, a restaurant may return to serving food and beverages on its premises, as long as it complies with the following requirements.

Restaurants must limit its capacity (indoor and outdoor spaces) to 50 percent of its normal operating capacity to ensure adequate spacing between groups, ensure that groups of less than six people are seated together, be able to create at least six feet of distance between each group or individual dining alone and must not have any self-service of food or beverages (such as buffets or salad bars).

Bars are not included in this category. However, they can continue to conduct carry out, drive-through or delivery services.

Fitness centers: Fitness centers, health clubs, health spas and gyms are allowed to reopen on Friday, with the following requirements.

These businesses must limit customers present to half of its maximum legal occupancy capacity and ensure that its equipment (such treadmills, benches, power racks, weight machines, etc.) must be spaced at least six feet apart. Group activities or classes must be limited to 10 or fewer people, with all participants maintaining a distance of at least six feet. 

Shopping malls: Enclosed malls may reopen, with 50 percent capacity. Common seating areas and play areas are to remain closed, and food courts are limited to a carry out basis.

Libraries: Public libraries may reopen at 50 percent capacity. As of this writing, most local public libraries – including the Lake City Public Library, Rockwell City Public Library, J.J. Hands Library of Lohrville and the Lytton Public Library – have remained closed.

Racetracks: Speedways and tracks conducting horse or dog races may reopen, but must not permit spectators to attend the events in person.

Retail establishments: Stores and shops are allowed to reopen at 50 percent of its maximum legal capacity.

Churches: Under the proclamation, religious or spiritual gatherings such as churches, synagogues and other temples are allowed to reopen, but must ensure social distancing measures. However, it is advised that you contact your local place of worship on reopening dates or a continuance of online services.

Other mass gatherings: Gatherings of people inside enclosed vehicles do not constitute a gathering of more than 10 people, if there are no more than 10 people inside of the vehicle and all people remain inside of the vehicle at all times.

Social, community, recreational, leisure and sporting gatherings and events of more than 10 people are still prohibited at all locations and venues, continuing until 11:59 p.m. on May 15.

The proclamation continues the closures of theaters, performance venues, casinos and gaming facilities, social and fraternal clubs, senior citizen and adult daycare centers, bingo halls, bowling alleys, pool halls, arcades, amusement parks, museums, aquariums, zoos and all indoor and outdoor skating rinks and parks.

Playgrounds and campgrounds are also closed to the public; with the only exception is the long-term use of a campground by a long-term or permanent tenant.

Salons, barbershops, medical spas, tattoo parlors, tanning facilities and message therapy establishments are also closed. Door to door sales are still prohibited, as well.

Lastly, it is up to individual owners, public entities or religious entities on whether they will reopen to the requirements set by Reynolds’ proclamation. Therefore, it is recommended to contact or visit your preferred eateries, fitness centers, libraries or places of worship for further information.


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