Iowa loosens COVID-19 restrictions

By: 
Staff report

     On Monday, April 27, Gov. Kim Reynolds announced steps to slowly reopen the State of Iowa since the spread of COVID-19 a couple of months ago.

     Effective May 1, in 77 of Iowa’s 99 counties (which includes Jones County), the following businesses can choose to reopen at their own discretion while complying with certain restrictions:

     • Restaurants

     • Fitness centers

     • Retail stores

     • Libraries

     They may reopen at 50 percent of normal operating capacity.

     Social community, recreational, leisure, and sporting activities will continue to be limited to 10 people or less.

     Restrictions on religious gatherings are also lifted, noting that churches must also abide by social distancing guidelines.

     The remaining 22 counties are under current restrictions through May 15, which includes Linn and Dubuque counties.

     “I strongly encourage all vulnerable Iowans, including those with pre-existing medical conditions and those older than 65, in all counties of the state to continue to limit their activities outside of their home, including their visits to businesses and other establishments and their participation in gatherings of any size and any purpose,” noted Reynolds in her press conference.

     As of April 27, Iowa still has a total of 5,868 confirmed positive cases of COVID-19. Of that, 2,021 have recovered. Almost 40,000 have been tested statewide. There have been 127 deaths.

     In Jones County, confirmed positive cases stand at 19 with eight recovered. There have been 243 tested.

     Those businesses that must remain closed include:

     • Bars

     • Salons, spas, barbershops

     On April 24, Reynolds eased restrictions on farmers markets and medical facilities in terms of non-essential/elective surgeries and procedures, beginning April 27.

     UnityPoint Health – Jones Regional Medical Center (JRMC) released a statement saying plans have not been finalized in terms of when those procedures would commence.

     “UnityPoint Health facilities in Iowa do not yet have a definitive timeline to share, but have begun planning for resuming elective procedures that prioritize the health and safety of our team members, patients and communities,” stated JRMC.

     The Monticello Farmers Market plans to open for business on Saturday, May 9, with some restrictions. Full details on their plan can be found inside this week’s Express on A9.

     “While there are some areas of our state where virus activity is still high, we have many more areas where it’s manageable or even minimal,” Reynolds said on April 24. “This presents an opportunity to start to open Iowa back up in phases and in a responsible manner.

     “This is our first step of many to reopening Iowa and getting life and business back to normal as soon as possible.”

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