Severity: Critical Alert

Transportation: Officials in Iowa, US, lift additional business restrictions statewide starting May 15. Other restrictions in place through May 27.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Des Moines, Iowa
  • Cedar Rapids, Iowa
  • Dubuque, Iowa
  • Waterloo, Iowa
  • Sioux City, Iowa
  • Burlington, Iowa
  • Mason City, Iowa
  • Ames, Iowa

This alert began 15 May 2020 12:06 GMT and is scheduled to expire 27 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 Restrictions
  • Location(s): Iowa (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 27
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions

Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds has issued a proclamation lifting additional business restrictions that had been implemented as part of the state's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The edict eases restrictions statewide starting May 15, while extending other movement and business restrictions through at least May 27.

The new directive encompasses the 99 counties of the state, contrary to previous measures, which had eased restrictions in most but not all counties. As of 0500 May 15, the following businesses and services are allowed to operate statewide:

  • Dine-in services at restaurants
  • Gyms and fitness centers
  • Malls
  • Retail stores
  • Personal care businesses, including barbershops, hair salons, spas, massage therapy services, and tattoo and tanning facilities
  • Racetracks, without admitting spectators
  • Campgrounds
  • Libraries
  • Social or fraternal clubs

These establishments must limit the number of customers present in their facilities to 50 percent of their maximum capacity. They must also enhance sanitation measures and ensure physical distancing between customers and employees. Farmers' markets and drive-in theaters may also open, and nonessential medical procedures are allowed to resume.

Authorities have extended until at least May 27 the closure of bars, theaters, casinos, amusement and entertainment venues, museums, zoos, skating parks, playgrounds, and swimming pools. Essential businesses, such as grocery stores, pharmacies, and banks, as well as facilities in the transport, security, media, energy, and critical manufacturing industries, may continue to operate.

Officials continue to encourage all residents to limit the time they spend outside their residences and maintain a ban on gatherings of 10 people or more through May 27. In-person lessons at all schools remain canceled through the end of the academic year.

Transport and business disruptions will continue. Authorities will keep additional security personnel deployed to assist in enforcing restrictions that remain in force. Officials could amend the orders at short notice, depending on the disease activity in the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The relaxation of some measures will likely accelerate in the coming weeks; however, restrictions may be reimposed or extended further should the number of COVID-19 cases increase. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

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