Governor Kim Reynolds has ordered some closures in response to a spike in COVID-19 cases over the last two weeks.
On Thursday, the governor ordered bars, taverns, breweries and nightclubs in six Iowa counties to close at 5 p.m. Thursday due to a surge in COVID-19 cases among young adults in Linn, Black Hawk, Johnson, Story, Polk and Dallas counties.
The governor says the stats are even more alarming for the counties where college students have returned for classes at the University of Iowa and Iowa State University.
Social media posts over the past couple of weeks showed students returning to college communities were not only packing into bars, but holding large private gatherings. Reynolds says she spoke Wednesday with the presidents of the public universities in Ames, Cedar Falls and Iowa City to discuss the situation.
Late this spring, younger Iowans below the age of 40 became the majority of people testing positive for the coronavirus. Reynolds was asked why she waited until case counts were spiking again in college towns to close the bars.
While young adults are less likely to become seriously ill if they contract COVID, Reynolds says they can spread it to others and there’s concern the virus is now so prevalent in those six counties it may lead to overloaded hospitals, outbreaks at nursing homes and workforce shortages.
The governor’s new public health disaster proclamation lets Iowa RESTAURANTS stay open, but they must stop selling alcohol at 10 p.m. each night. Reynolds is calling on Iowa police and sheriff’s departments to issue citations when Iowans host packed private parties with too many people. The governor’s proclamation calls on Iowans hosting social gatherings of more than 10 people to ensure six-feet of social distancing between guests.
But Reynolds says making that a statewide policy is not enforceable.
Meanwhile, Delaware County is on track to possibly see twice as many positive COVID-19 cases this week compared to last week. According to the Iowa Department of Public Health, Delaware County had 25 new COVID-19 cases over a seven-day period last week ending Monday. This week, there have already been 27 new cases reported Monday through Thursday.
story contribution courtesy of Radio Iowa