Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced on Monday that he would start easing restrictions on some businesses and at religious meetings in 77 Iowa states – including Pottawattamie County and much of southwest Iowa – starting Friday.
Effective Friday, restaurants, fitness centers and retail stores can start operating at 50% of normal operating capacity, Reynolds said.
Closed malls can be reopened and operate at 50% normal capacity, but play areas, public seating areas including food courts in food courts, must remain closed. Restaurants in the food court can operate by order.
Social, community, recreational, recreational and sporting events will continue to be limited to 10 people. But Reynolds said he lifted the line on all spiritual and religious gatherings. All closures in the state will be extended until May 15.
Businesses and churches approved for reopening must also comply with social distance, cleanliness, public health measures and guidelines from the Iowa Department of Public Health, Reynolds said.
Reynolds order status:
Restaurant: A restaurant can be reopened to serve food and drinks on site, but only to the extent that it meets the following requirements:
- Restaurants must limit the number of customers in the indoor or outdoor space to 50% of normal operating capacity to ensure adequate group distance.
- The restaurant must ensure that no group of customers sits together in the restaurant for more than six people.
- Restaurants must ensure a physical distance of at least six feet between each group or individual meal.
- Restaurants may not have self-service food or drinks, including buffet or salad bars.
- Restaurants must also implement reasonable measures in the circumstances of each restaurant to ensure the social distance of employees and customers, improvement of hygiene practices, and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 in accordance with guidelines issued by the Iowa Department. Inspection and Appeal and the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Fitness center: Fitness centers, health clubs, health spas, or gyms can be reopened, but only to the extent that they meet the following requirements:
- Companies must limit the number of customers present to 50% of the maximum legal occupancy capacity.
- Establishments must ensure that all equipment, such as treadmills, bicycles, heavy equipment, benches and electric racks, are spaced at least six feet apart or take other appropriate steps to ensure that equipment that is closer in distance is not used.
- Each group or class activity must be limited to 10 or fewer people and all participating people must keep a distance of six feet at all times.
- The establishment must also implement reasonable measures in the circumstances of each establishment to ensure the social distance of employees and customers, improvement of hygiene practices, and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmitting COVID-19 in accordance with guidelines issued by the Iowa Department. Public health.
Mall: Closed malls can be reopened, but only to the extent that they meet the following requirements:
- Malls must limit the number of customers present to 50% of the maximum legal occupancy capacity.
- All public seating areas, such as food courts, must remain closed. Restaurants in the food court can operate by order.
- Any playground or playground must remain closed.
- Malls must also implement reasonable measures in the conditions of each mall to ensure social distance between employees and customers, improve hygiene practices, and other public health measures to reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission in accordance with guidelines issued by the Iowa Department. Public health.
Library: The library can be reopened as long as it limits the number of attendees to 50% of its maximum legal shelter capacity and applies reasonable measures in the circumstances of each library to ensure social distance between employees and customers, improved hygiene practices, and other public health measures. to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 according to guidelines issued by the Iowa Department of Public Health.
Race track: Fast track or racetrack, in addition to those running horse or dog races, can be reopened as long as they do not allow spectators to attend the event in person.
Reynolds extended the closure of other businesses to 11:59 pm. May 15th. These include: bars, theaters, casinos and game facilities, social and fraternal clubs, senior citizens and adult child care facilities, entertainment centers (bingo halls, bowling arenas, billiard halls, amusement parks), museums, aquariums and zoos, skating rinks and skate parks, playgrounds, campsites, swimming pools, salons and barber shops, medical spas, tattoo parlors, tanning facilities, massage therapy venues, and door-to-door sales.
Tom Hanafan, interim president and CEO of the Council Bluffs Area Chamber of Commerce, called Reynolds’ announcement of easing some COVID-19 mitigation measures “a good step in the right direction.”
Restaurants, for example, are limited to seating groups of six or less customers and must maintain a minimum distance of six feet between groups. Reynolds’ proclamation did not specify how the revised mitigation efforts would be enforced.
“I think Reynolds has a lot of confidence that businesses will obey the rules,” Hanafan said. “This is one situation where everyone has to work together.”
He said he believed Reynolds was watching metrics on COVID-19 deployments in the state and was “very guarded” in his decision to allow businesses to reopen.
“This is a step,” said Hanafan. “But what happens in September when the next flu season arrives? People in business are nervous. “
The Iowa Restaurant Association “praised” Reynolds’ decision in a statement released Monday.
“We want to welcome people back through our doors where we can,” said Jessica Dunker, president and CEO of the Iowa Restaurant Association. “However, we understand this must be a gradual reopening.”
The association said it would make a commitment to take safety and sanitation measures that go beyond the state mandate as part of the Iowa Hospitality Promise, the release said. It also asks the public to commit to staying at home and using contactless delivery options when they feel unwell or if they have an underlying health risk.
For Pomodoro Fresh Italian, Friday will be the first day to serve customers in their new building at 722 Creek Top.
“Business will be reduced but it will be very good to open and serve Council Bluffs,” said Julie Luna, co-owner of Pomodoro Fresh Italian. “We want to say to Southwest Iowa that after three years with a 10 foot by 14 foot trailer, we are happy to finally be able to open our restaurant.”
Initially they had planned the opening of May 4, so the opening of May 1 came as help, the owner said.
Janie Rogers, owner of 712, The Porch and Glory Days, chose to remain closed for indoor food service even though there was an option to reopen Friday.
“I just don’t feel that the majority of the general public feels comfortable with dinner in service, and I feel our industry is based on making people feel safe and comfortable,” Rogers said.
Pick-up and delivery is available for all Rogers restaurants.
The Department of Recreation and Parks Council Bluffs on April 23 announced the postponement of some of its summer sports activities which pushed the start date for tee ball, engine field, baseball, tennis camp, and adult softball league to June.
Following Reynolds’ announcement on Monday, no additional changes had been made, according to Council Bluffs Communication Officer Ashley Kruse.
“Until now, everything has stood as before,” he said. “Everything is on the website (parks and recreation). So if you need to see that date, they are listed there. “
The department hopes to start tee ball, machine pitch, fast pitch and baseball on June 15. The first session of the youth tennis camp will still begin June 9, and adult softball is also scheduled to start June 3.
The Council Bluffs Parks and Recreation Department website is councilbluffs-ia.gov/253/Parks-Recreation-Department or can be contacted by telephone at 712-890-5291.
Also Monday, the Iowa Department of Public Health reported 349 new positive cases with a total of 5,868 positive cases throughout the state. There are 1,668 additional negative tests for a total of 32,282 negative tests to date, which include tests reported by the State Hygienic Lab and other laboratories.
There are also nine new deaths reported. Reynolds said the death was older and older adults.
• Black Hawk County, 2 older adults (61-80 years)
• Bremer Regency, 1 elderly adult (81 years and over)
• Dubuque County, 1 older adult (61-80 years)
• Polk County, 3 elderly adults (81 and older)
• Poweshiek District, 1 elderly (81 and older)
• Washington County, 1 older adult (81 and older)
Eight have pre-existing health conditions and one is being reviewed for pre-existing conditions. To date, 127 Iowan residents have died due to COVID-19.
Pottawattami District Public Health reported two new COVID-19 cases on Monday, bringing the total number of cases in the district to 31. Seventeen people had recovered, 13 were left alone at home, no one was hospitalized, and there was one death.
The two new cases are both in Council Bluffs and include one man and one woman. One is a child aged between 0-17 years, and the other individual is an adult aged between 18 and 40 years. Nobody has a pre-existing condition. One has contact with existing COVID-19 cases, and one is the result of community dissemination. These people were tested between April 23 and April 24. Both are isolated alone at home.
Pottawattamie District Public Health continues to investigate contact tracing for each COVID-19 case. Part of contact tracing assesses risk to the general public. If there is no risk to the general public, Public Health will communicate directly with certain contacts identified in the investigation. If and when risks to the general public are identified, Public Health will publicly identify the location and communicate whatever actions the community must take. Because we have the spread of COVID-19 in the community, individuals must take precautions to protect themselves. Stay at home as much as possible, limit travel and shopping. If you have to leave home, practice keeping a social distance, and stay at least six feet from the others. Implement excellent hygiene and disinfecting practices. Wash hands and disinfect surfaces that are often touched several times per day. And if you are sick, isolate yourself at home.
Iowa Workforce Development announces guidance on unemployment benefits
Iowans who have been suspended for COVID-19 but refuse to return to work when called back by their employers will lose unemployment benefits, except for certain circumstances, Iowa Workforce Development announced Monday. Special circumstances include:
• If you are tested positive for COVID-19 and experience symptoms;
• If you have recovered but it causes medical complications so you cannot do important work tasks;
• If a member of your household is diagnosed with COVID-19;
• If you provide care for members of your household who are diagnosed with COVID-19;
• If you do not have child care due to COVID-19 reasons; or
• If you do not have transportation to your workplace because of COVID-19.
Employees in one of these positions are strongly encouraged to work with their superiors in the best way to handle the situation to return to work.
Refusing to return to work when called back for other reasons, or in an effort to continue withdrawing unemployment benefits would be considered a “voluntary stop” that would disqualify claimants from receiving benefits, including a Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation benefit of $ 600 per week. An employee who is withdrawn on a part-time basis can continue to be eligible for benefits depending on the amount of wages they earn. They must continue to submit their weekly claims and report on the gross wages they earn each week. In addition, entrepreneurs must continue to report their weekly gross income as part of their ongoing claims when they return to work.
“The additional unemployment benefits provided under the CARES Act are intended to be temporary and bridge the gap between the outbreak and return to normal,” said Director of Beth Townsend, Iowa Workforce Development. “For Iowans whose jobs might be permanently affected by this outbreak, we have many training opportunities under the Iowa Future Ready to help them get training and start a new career in jobs with high demand, high-paying jobs.”
Businesses must report employees who refuse to return to work without good reason or who quit their jobs as soon as possible to IWD at iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov/job-offer-decline-form-employers.
While an employee may temporarily receive more benefits than they receive in wages, the CARES Law outlines serious consequences for fraud, including fines, confinement and not qualifying for future unemployment benefits until all claims and penalties for fraud have been paid if a person individuals continue to claim benefits that are not eligible due to changes in their work situation.
For more information, please visit iowaworkforcedevelopment.gov.
The Iowa Legislature will continue the suspension of the session
On Monday, the leadership of the Iowa Council and Senate announced that the suspension of the legislative session would also be extended until May 15.
“The health and safety of all Iowan residents continues to be our main focus as we monitor the situation and make decisions. “I know my colleague wants to return to the Capitol to discuss priorities and finish our legislative work as soon as possible,” said House Speaker Pat Grassley, R-New Hartford. “Iowans have been patient and play an important role in slowing the spread of the corona virus during an unprecedented public health emergency. We need to get people back to their work, school, church and social life in a responsible way as soon as possible. I want to thank Governor Reynolds for his careful approach to reopening our country and returning to normal. “
The Legislative Council will meet via teleconference this week. The date for the meeting has not been determined.
What you need to know about COVID-19
Symptoms in people who have been exposed can include fever, coughing and shortness of breath, according to the Iowa Department of Public Health. The symptoms can appear only in two days or as long as 14 days after exposure. Most people experience mild or moderate symptoms that go away in two to three weeks.
Older adults and people with existing health problems are among those who are very susceptible to more severe illnesses, including pneumonia.
If you are sick, stay at home and contact a doctor before visiting the office. Public health officials recommend:
- Stay at home unless you really need to leave.
- Monitor the symptoms for yourself.
- Contact your doctor if symptoms appear.
- Cover the cough and sneeze with a tissue or upper arm / elbow.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water.
- Clean and disinfect objects and surfaces that are frequently touched.
There are a number of occupant resources for information about COVID-19.
The Methodist Health System offers a community hotline and screening tool at 402-815-SICK (7425). CHI Health has an assistance channel to answer questions and direct patients who may be at high risk for coronavirus. Visit chihealth.com for information.
The Pottawattamie District Emergency Management Agency has a COVID-19 call center that is open from 8 am to 4 pm. Monday to Friday 712-890-5368 or 712-890-5369.
For those who struggle with mental health during a pandemic, yourlifeiowa.org has several resources, including a hotline at 855-581-8111 and a text friendly line at 855-895-8398.
In addition, the Hope 4 Iowa Crisis Hotline connects individuals in crisis to the hands that help with resources to overcome and improve mental health. Hotlines are available 24 hours a day. Call 84-HOPE-4-IOWA (844-673-4469).
The University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha has announced the COVID-19 – 1-Check COVID screening application, allowing users to answer a series of questions and assess the likelihood of them having COVID-19. Based on user input, the screening application will issue a “low risk,” “urgent risk” or “emergent risk” assessment and guide the individual towards the next possible steps.
Besides, open it pcema-ia.org, idph.iowa.gov and / or cdc.gov for more information.
– Sports editor Pat Donohue and writers Jon Leu, Courtney Durham, and Tim Johnson contributed to this report.