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Iowa Governor Suspends Most Evictions, Property Tax Penalties In Response To COVID-19

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Charlie Neibergall
/
AP Photo
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during a news conference about the state's response to COVID-19, the illness caused by the spreading coronavirus on Monday in Johnston.

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds announced Friday she is suspending most evictions, penalties and interest related to property tax collection, and some other state regulations in response to COVID-19. The measures are part of an additional state public health emergency declaration signed by Reynolds

The declaration signed by Reynolds says allowing evictions at this time “would prevent, hinder, or delay necessary action in coping with this disaster in all counties of our state and reduction in evictions will help prevent the transmission of infectious disease and help ensure that cases of COVID-19 are properly controlled and treated.”

As of early Friday morning, state judges were still allowed to proceed with eviction proceedings by phone. Some were concerned that evicting people during the new coronavirus outbreak would leave them with no place to live, putting more people at higher risk of getting or spreading the disease.

Some evictions with “emergency circumstances allowed by law” can proceed.

Reynolds has also suspended collection of property taxes, and has directed that no penalties or interest should be charged for delayed payment for the duration of the emergency declaration.

The requirement for personal delivery of applications for permits to acquire firearms is now suspended, and Reynolds directed each county sheriff’s office to develop a procedure for accepting applications for permits to acquire and permits to carry that does not involve in-person interaction between the public and staff.

The state is now allowing some bars and restaurants to sell carry-out, delivery or drive-thru unopened bottles of alcohol.

It is suspending some regulations related to transportation of medical supplies, food, cleaning products and agricultural goods.

Reynolds’ declaration also allows for public meetings to happen by electronic means to maintain social distancing, and suspends some regulations related to internal functions of state agencies.

These changes are in effect until April 16 at 11:59 p.m., unless Reynolds ends them sooner or extends them.