Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds holds a press conference on COVID-19 at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston Tuesday, May 26, 2020. (Photo Credit: Zach Boyden-Holmes/The Des Moines Register)

DES MOINES, Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds announced that she was easing numerous restrictions in her public health emergency proclamation, but was extending the amended declaration through June 25.

She previously announced that bars, wineries, breweries, distilleries, and social and fraternal clubs may reopen on Thursday, May 28, 2020, with the same public health measures that restaurants have in place.

The updated proclamation also permits the reopening on June 1 of additional establishments, including outdoor performance venues, casinos, bowling alleys, amusement parks, skating rinks, skate parks, and outdoor playgrounds.

Starting June 1, the proclamation permits social, community, recreational, leisure, and sporting gatherings and events of more than ten people if public health measures are implemented, including limiting attendance to 50 percent of the venue capacity and maintaining six feet of distance between those attending. This change also allows practices, games, and competitions for youth and adult baseball, softball, and individual sports such as running, biking, swimming, tennis, and golf to resume with appropriate public health measures in place.

The moratorium on evictions and foreclosures will expire on Thursday, but a state fund will be created using CARES Act funds to help eligible Iowans stay in their homes. Reynolds noted that fund should be ready to take applications by Friday.

“In communities across the state, there are signs that life is starting to get back to normal. The most welcome one of all is the ‘we’re open’ sign hanging in the windows of local businesses,” Reynolds said at her daily press conference on Tuesday.

She noted that since May 1, businesses in Iowa have gradually reopened with limited capacity, and she said that many businesses have gone above and beyond the public health guidance provided by the Iowa Department of Public Health.

“Iowa is on the road to recovery,” Reynolds said. “For our state recovery means striking a balance between getting life and business back to normal while continuing to manage the virus activity. Our recovery is contingent upon our ability to protect both the lives and livelihoods of Iowans. We can’t prioritize one over the other. We must prioritize both to move forward. We know that COVID-19 will continue to be a part of our lives for a while. And we know that Iowans are willing and able to take personal responsibility to protect themselves and others.”

Reynolds noted that there continues to be a downward trend in positive cases as testing ramps up. The Iowa Department of Public Health (IDPH) reports that out of 135,307 COVID-19 tests conducted; there is a statewide total of 17,704 positive tests for a positivity rate of 13.1 percent. One in 23 Iowans has received a test. She added that the downward trend should continue as the criteria for Test Iowa diagnostic testing now includes all Iowans.

Monday’s positivity rate was 6.2 percent. On Sunday, the State Hygenic Lab came within 93 tests of hitting their full capacity of processing 5000 tests daily. The state currently has 11 Test Iowa sites up and running this week.

Also, 15,597 Iowans completed a serology test for COVID-19 antibodies, 1,787 Iowans tested positive for an 11 percent positivity rate.

To date, 9,713 Iowans have recovered from COVID-19 for a recovery rate of 55 percent among those testing positive. Also, 477 Iowans have died of COVID-19, with 89 percent of the deaths being Iowans older than 61-years-of-age and 53 percent being a resident of a long-term care facility.

IDPH also reports 379 patients are hospitalized statewide for COVID-19, including 115 in ICU, 65 on ventilators, and 28 new admissions. The state currently has 3,870 inpatient beds, 508 ICU beds, and 741 ventilators available.

Watch the full press conference below:

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