State to share requirements for reopening businesses

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A full list of guidelines for restaurants that wish to reopen on Friday will be posted at coronavirus.iowa.gov, according to Gov. Kim Reynolds.

Reynolds stated at her daily update on Tuesday, April 28, that the Iowa Restaurant Association had worked with owners across the state to keep people safe. She turned the podium over to Sarah Reisetter with Public Health to provide a few more details.

Among the requirements restaurants will have to follow include no dining parties over six, prohibition of buffet-style customer self-service, enhanced cleaning, no seating allowed in the bar section and all tables must keep people at least six feet apart. Servers are also encouraged to wear masks.

For farmers’ markets, the products that can be sold are limited to farm products and food. Each vendor should be six feet apart, with no entertainment or communal seating. Vendors are also encouraged to consider cashless payment options.

Reynolds was asked about keeping food processing plants open, despite outbreaks a few facilities in Iowa. She believes they, as well as pork producers, are essential parts of the nation’s food supply and must continue to operate. This is also why she supports the enactment of the federal Defense Production Act to protect producers.

There were 508 new cases of COVID-19 reported today for a total of 6,376 positive tests in the state. Of the positive tests, 98 percent are contained in the 22 counties singled out in yesterday’s order. The recovery rate for those who tested positive in Iowa stands at 34 percent.

Of Iowans tested, 33,447 have tested negative; this equates to 1 in 79 Iowans. There were nine more deaths reported today – seven of them are tied to long-term care center outbreaks. Another seven such outbreaks were announced today, including one in Dallas County, the Iowa Veterans Home in Marshalltown and Acura West Care Center in Newton. All of the counties where the new outbreaks have occurred are in the same 22 counties specified before.

More “strike teams” will be deployed soon. Everyone is still encouraged to see if they should be tested for the virus at www.testiowa.com.

With the prospect of the Legislature resuming its session on May 15, the Governor was asked about the state budget. Reynolds intends to meet with the Department of Management before submitting a new, revised budget for the Legislature to consider. The impact of the virus on state revenues is still unknown. One of the Governor’s key projects, Invest in Iowa, will be put on hold for at least a year.

Reynolds closed out her press conference by praising Iowans for their continued support of local food banks.