Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds holds a press conference on COVID-19 at the State Emergency Operations Center in Johnston, Iowa, on Tuesday, May 19, 2020. (Photo Credit: Olivia Sun/The Des Moines Register)
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DES MOINES, Iowa – Gov. Kim Reynolds signed a proclamation that extends the Public Health Emergency Disasater that was set to expire by 30 days.

The proclamation extends public health mitigation measures currently in place for businesses and other establishments.

Those measures include the requirements for bars and restaurants to ensure six feet of physical distance between each group or individual dining or drinking; to ensure all patrons have a seat at a table or bar, and to limit congregating together closer than six feet.

Requirements for social distancing, hygiene, and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission also remain in place for gyms, casinos, salons, theaters, and other establishments.

This extension comes at a time as positive COVID-19 cases in Iowa have spiked as more testing is conducted. Currently, one in seven Iowans has tested for COVID-19 for a total of 443,350 tests completed. At the time of publication, there are 41,137 positive cases statewide. On Thursday, 480 Iowans tested positive for COVID-19 for a positivity rate of 7.3 percent. The cumulative positivity rate stands at 9.3 percent. Also, 78 percent of total cases are among those who are between the ages of 18 to 60.

Thus far, 821 Iowans have died from COVID-19, with 88 percent of those deaths among Iowans age 61 or older. There are 230 Iowans hospitalized with COVID-19, 72 patients in ICU, and 27 on a ventilator. Hospitalizations have slowly increased as cases have increased, but are still far below the peak seen in mid-May.

Reynolds’ proclamation also extends many of the previously issued regulatory relief measures necessary to respond to this public health disaster, including those related to healthcare, professional licensure, educational workforce, and expirations of driver’s licenses.

Some provisions have not been extended, including the suspension of the requirement for retailers to accept empty bottles and cans for redemption of the container deposit. That statutory requirement will resume on July 26, 2020.

The proclamation is now in effect until 11:59 p.m. on Sunday, August 23, 2020.

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