Health emergency continues; more businesses open with restrictions

(Above)  Children were thrilled to be back in City Park Monday, June 1, enjoying new playground equipment. - Reporter photo by Chris Barragy.

by Travis Fischer

More businesses were opened and regulations lifted last week as Governor Kim Reynolds extended the Public Health Emergency Declaration concerning the COVID-19 outbreak into June.

As of June 1, outdoor performances, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement parks, skating rinks, skate parks, and outdoor playgrounds may be reopened. The proclamation also lifts the restriction on social gatherings of more than ten people.

As with many of the other re-opened businesses, there are stipulations attached to the reopening of these recreational businesses. Like most public venues, they will be limited to 50 percent of their capacity and must maintain six feet of social distancing between attending parties.

Restaurants, bars, and similar establishments can expand their tables as well. While the capacity limit remains at 50 percent the normal seating capacity, group sizes are now limited to parties of 10, rather than six. Live performances are also allowed again, so long as social distancing guidelines are met. Social distancing of six feet must still be maintained between individuals or groups, and self-service is still prohibited.

High school sports are also included in the proclamation, allowing youth athletic seasons to move forward with the same restrictions.

“Lifting this restriction means extended family and friends can gather together, but that privilege comes with responsibility in ensuring you’re doing the right thing to protect your health and the health of the people you care about,” said Reynolds.

Most of the previous restrictions on businesses will be extended through the duration of the proclamation, which lasts until June 25.

And while most of the regulatory relief the governor has implemented will stay in place through June, Reynolds has lifted the moratorium on foreclosures and evictions, again allowing landlords to remove delinquent tenants from their properties.

“I know that some Iowans who have experienced a reduction in income due to COVID-19 may have difficulty paying their rent or mortgage payments in the months to come,” said Reynolds. “To provide continuous relief to those families I will be allocating funding through the states allocation of the federal CARES Act funds for the creation of a COVID-19 Eviction and Foreclosure Prevention Program.”

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