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Yesterday, Governor Reynolds signed a new proclamation continuing the Public Health Disaster Emergency, and changing requirements for bars and restaurants in four of the six counties in which she had ordered them to close after a spike in positive COVID-19 cases; However, the restrictions in the two counties with major state colleges will remain in place.
The proclamation, effective at 5:00 p.m. on Wednesday, September 16, 2020, permits bars, taverns, wineries, breweries, distilleries, night clubs to reopen in four counties: Black Hawk, Dallas, Linn, and Polk counties. Bars, taverns, wineries, breweries, distilleries, night clubs continue to be closed in Johnson and Story counties.
It also removes the restrictions on hours that alcohol may be sold in restaurants in Black Hawk, Dallas, Linn and Polk counties. They may continue to sell alcoholic beverages for consumption off premises. Restaurants in Johnson and Story counties are still permitted to remain open, but must stop selling and serving alcoholic beverages after 10:00 p.m.
The proclamation clarifies the social distancing requirements that apply to bars and restaurants throughout the entire state.
The proclamation states that a restaurant or bar, including a wedding reception venue, winery, brewery, distillery, country club, or other social or fraternal club, may reopen or remain open to serve food and beverages on its premises, but only to the extent that it complies with the following requirements:
Social distancing: The establishment must ensure at least six feet of physical distance between each group or individual dining alone. Seating at booths closer than six feet may satisfy this requirement if the booths are separated by a barrier of a sufficient height to fully separate seated customers. All patrons must have a seat at a table, booth, or bar, and must consume their food or beverage while seated at the table, booth, or bar. Establishments must limit patrons from congregating together closer than six feet
Other social distancing, hygiene, and public health measures: The restaurant shall also implement reasonable measures under the circumstances of each restaurant to ensure social distancing of employees and customers, increased hygiene practices, and other public health measures to reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19 consistent with guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Inspections and Appeals and the Iowa Department of Public Health.
The proclamation also continues to strongly encourage all Iowans two or older to wear a mask or other face covering when in public settings, especially in circumstances when it is not possible to remain six feet away from others outside their household, unless it is unsafe to do so because of health or disability. It does not require mandatory mask wearing.
These adjusted public health measures remain in effect until September 20, 2020, unless Governor Reynolds extends the Public Health Disaster Emergency before that date.
Currently, IDPH has reported on the state’s coronavirus dashboard, 75,722 Iowans have tested positive, up 653 from our update yesterday morning, with a total of 711,184 tested. Antigen test results are now included in the overall data and broken out separately from PCR test results in the data here. 11 additional deaths were reported since our last update, bringing the total to 1234 deaths. Now 54,997 Iowans have recovered. The overall positivity rate is 10.6% and the total 14 day rolling average positivity rate is 8.4%. The latest on hospitalizations, including how many patients have been admitted in the last 24 hours can be found here.
School district statistics including positivity rates by county can be found here. According to guidance issued by the Iowa Department of Education, schools may petition to go to hybrid or online learning with less than 50 percent in-person instruction when the per county percentage positivity rates are above 15 percent in a county on average over the past 14 days (rolling average) AND 10% absenteeism among students is expected for in-person learning.
Currently 4 counties are above 15 percent positivity rate over the past 14 days: