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PUBLIC HEALTH

Governor: No more statewide business shutdowns

However, it's possible that bars will be forced to limit their capacities again because of the new coronavirus

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Gov. Kim Reynolds will not order any further statewide shutdowns of businesses in response to the coronavirus pandemic, she said today.

“You will not see me shut down the entire state,” Reynold said during her weekly press conference.

Several states, including Texas, Florida and California have rolled back some of their reopening efforts in response to increases in new coronavirus case numbers. Iowa has seen its case numbers rise in recent weeks, though they are still slightly below their peak-levels seen in May.

The governor said an option to mitigate the spread of the disease — especially with increased numbers of young people testing positive for the new coronavirus — is returning bars to 50-percent capacity limits. Reynolds explained current state data show the “average age” of new cases was in people who are 21 or 22 years old. 

“The majority of the cases are still largely concentrated in 10 counties and among younger adults,” she said. “We are testing significantly more now than we were two to three months ago.”

Reynolds said she might hold another press conference later this week about the pandemic and the state's response.

Bars in Iowa were closed for a number of weeks to slow the spread of virus, and 50-percent-capacity limits and social-distancing measures were introduced in bars as they initially reopened. The capacity limitations were lifted altogether in early June.

Some bars and restaurants in Carroll County have returned to take-out only service in response to growing case numbers in the area, as of Tuesday afternoon the number of cases in the county stood at 117, according to state health department data.

“We continue to closely monitor Iowa’s numbers regarding positive cases and the impact it has on our most vulnerable Iowans, our health care system, the number of (ventilators) and ICU beds that are being utilized and those that remain available,” Reynolds said. “We continue to monitor the impact on our state positivity rate, our days to double.” 

Reynolds said the government is monitoring the situation daily, and they know where the highest number of positive cases are occurring and that they are “carefully considering” whether further mitigation efforts are necessary to slow the spread of the disease in some areas.

“But it’s important that Iowans remember that each of us has the ability to slow and contain virus activity through our own actions, whether that’s wearing a mask, social distancing, practicing good hygiene or staying home when you’re sick,” she said. “And I think we all know as we’ve said from the very beginning of COVID-19, these are simple steps and they continue to be our best defense against the virus.”

The governor called on Iowans to take personal responsibility and step up to help bring about an end to the pandemic. 

“And not because it’s mandated, but because it’s the right thing to do,” Reynolds said. “That’s how we’ll keep Iowans safe and healthy, keep our economy up and running and keep our state moving forward.”

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