Iowans will be allowed to go to casinos, racetracks, amphitheatres, amusement parks, bowling alleys, outdoor playgrounds and more beginning June 1, as Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds announced further lifting of restrictions that had been in place to help curb the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Venues will be limited to 50 percent capacity and smoking will still be allowed in casinos. Leisure, social, community and sports gatherings of more than 10 people also will be allowed as of June 1, with attendees maintaining 6 feet of social distancing. Those include sports such as youth and adult baseball, softball, tennis and golf.
“Iowa is on the road to recovery,” Reynolds said at her press conference on Tuesday, May 26, 2020. “Our recovery is contingent on our ability to protect both the lives and the livelihoods of Iowans. We can’t prioritize one over the other.”
She did not mention the 466 Iowans who have died so far of COVID-19 — the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus — an increase of 10 from Monday, May 25.
As of 11 a.m. May 26, a total of 17,659 Iowans had tested positive for COVID-19, with 379 patients currently hospitalized, 115 in intensive care units and 65 patients on ventilators.
At long-term care facilities, 37 outbreaks have been reported, with 247 deaths.
Reynolds announced last week that bars, wineries, breweries and similar businesses that have been closed since mid-March would be allowed to reopen this Thursday, May 28, at 50 percent capacity.
Live bands are now allowed to perform at bars, with social distancing guidelines in place for both band members and the audience.
Performances also will be allowed at outdoor grandstands and amphitheatres.
Iowa is not requiring face masks to be worn in businesses or at gatherings, but state health officials recommended their use when social distancing cannot be maintained. They advised Iowans 65 and older and those with underlying health conditions to stay at home as much as possible.
Reynolds also announced that the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions would end this Wednesday, May 27, but that funding would be available to help those in need.
When asked by reporters about possibly reinstating restrictions if cases spike, she again referred to testing that the state is conducting.
Test Iowa, the $26 million, no-bid contract with a Utah partnership, has been criticized for delayed results, among other concerns.
Last week, Linn County reported receiving only 20 of 823 Test Iowa results, with 16 of those results categorized as “inconclusive.”
The delay in receiving test results, as well as the high number of “inconclusive” results, put the county at a disadvantage for follow-up and contact tracing, public health officials noted.