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Some Iowa Businesses, Campgrounds Can Reopen Friday Under Governor's Order

kim reynolds
John Pemble
IPR file
Gov. Kim Reynolds' new proclamation also allows dental procedures to resume by dentists with sufficient personal protective equipment and access to a reliable PPE supply chain.

Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation Wednesday that will allow some more businesses to reopen Friday.

Campgrounds, drive-in movie theaters, tanning facilities and medical spas can reopen at 5:00 a.m. Friday statewide if they follow public health guidance.

Dental procedures can also resume Friday for dentists who have sufficient personal protective equipment and access to a reliable PPE supply chain.

Credit Office of Governor Kim Reynolds
Office of Governor Kim Reynolds

In the 22 counties that currently have more strict coronavirus prevention policies, fitness and aquatic centers are allowed to open Friday by appointment with one patron at a time. Malls and other retail establishments can reopen at 50 percent of their legal capacity and with “reasonable measures” to ensure social distancing and increased hygiene practices.

This week, Iowa surpassed 10,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 200 deaths. The most deaths in a single day also happened this week when 19 people were reported to have died in 24 hours.

At a news conference Thursday, Reynolds was asked what went into her decision to allow more businesses to reopen in places like Woodbury County, where confirmed cases are increasing rapidly.

"It was a fairness issue in really opening up retail statewide," Reynolds said. "And again, if you're not feeling well, or you're concerned, or you don't think you're going to be able to social distance, wear some type of a face covering. If you're sick, stay home. And if you don't feel comfortable going to these establishments, then don't go."

Reynolds also said vulnerable Iowans should continue to stay home. 

The 77 counties with less strict policies were allowed to open restaurants, stores, malls and fitness centers at limited capacity May 1. On May 8, social and fraternal clubs in those counties can also reopen to serve food and beverages at 50 percent legal capacity.

The new proclamation lasts through May 15. It’s not clear what additional steps Reynolds may take to relax or strengthen coronavirus mitigation policies before then.

A report released last week showed University of Iowa infectious disease experts warned state officials that relaxing social distancing measures could lead to a second wave of infections.

Some of the 77 counties that Reynolds previously said were showing less virus activity have seen COVID-19 case counts rise rapidly in recent days, though it is too soon to see potential effects of businesses reopening reflected in those numbers. In Crawford and Wapello counties, local officials have asked for more access to testing to better understand the spread of the virus in their communities.

This story was updated Thursday, May 7 at 7:41 p.m.